Many people think, “what’s the big deal about COVID? It’s just the flu!” However, the reality is that COVID is more than just a respiratory illness. As doctors learn more about the disease, they find that it causes blood clots and inflammation throughout the body. This can lead to some long term complications, even among those who were not seriously ill in the first place.
Long Term Fatigue
Many people are reporting that they still feel tired months after getting COVID-19. These people may regularly sleep or feel foggy and unable to focus. If they try to walk upstairs, run, or do anything else that requires even moderate fitness levels, many people find it challenging. They experience immediate exhaustion during exercise or find it tricky to breathe. Dr. Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic COVID expert, reports that this is most likely due to cellular-level damage that the body is still struggling to recover from.
Research on COVID patients has reported that almost all of them have some level of blood clotting. Blood clots are problematic in any part of the body, but they are especially dangerous when they reach the heart. Clots can block blood flow to nature, keeping it from functioning correctly. This may lead to heart attacks, strokes, heart arrhythmias, and other cardiovascular issues.
Headaches and Cognitive Issues
Many patients who previously did not get migraines are reporting vicious headaches long after COVID-19. This chronic pain can affect every part of a person’s life. Another related issue has been cognitive issues; those affected may find themselves easily distracted. They may struggle to remember things or have difficulties following multi-step tasks. This seems related to the blood clot and tissue damage of COVID. Without the ability to get proper nutrients, the brain finds it challenging to function.
Other Long Term Problems
The fatigue, headaches, heart problems, and decreased fitness levels might impact daily life the most, but they are not the only things people need to worry about. Researchers are also noting some other problems in otherwise recovered COVID patients. Some potential issues include vertigo, hair loss, loss of smell or taste, organ damage, achy joints, and pulmonary scarring.