Long-term Symptoms of “mild” Covid Disease 3/25/2021
We have learned that Covid-19 infection can cause long-term (months to years?) diseases in multiple organ systems, such as to the lungs, heart and the brain. Even “mild” infection in relatively young and otherwise healthy people, can cause long-term symptoms. This is thought to be an effect of inflammation in the brain, and this inflammation can persist weeks to months after a mild bout with the virus. It seems that most people recover, but not all, since inflammation can cause cell damage if it is severe. The major symptoms, per recent Mayo Clinic and Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology studies, are:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste and smell
- Rash or hair loss
- Joint (and muscle) pain
- Chest pain, sometimes with a pounding heartbeat
- Brain fog
- Persistent tingling sensations
If you had confirmed Covid infection with either the swab when active symptoms were present, or the antibody test after acute-symptom recovery, and even if you had mild acute infection lasting under 2 weeks, you could have any of these long-term symptoms. If these symptoms are new to you, you should see a doctor. Certain blood tests (such as thyroid and stress hormone levels) can be done, but these are not definitely related to Covid, only suggestive.
Luckily, most of these symptoms will eventually improve on their own, but it is a good idea to get them checked by a doctor, either on-line or in person, if only to make sure they are not being caused by any other disorder. I may take months to years to fully understand all the long-term symptoms of Covid infection. It is just too early to be sure of the big picture here because the disease is still relatively new. At www.GuhaMD, we have the ability to order labs and electronically prescribe medications if needed.
S. John Guha, MD
Chief Medical Officer