Signs of long-term Covid-19 symptoms and impact it can have on your health in future

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Many countries are seeing a gradual decrease in coronavirus cases and deaths, allowing doctors and scientists to turn their attention to the longer-term impact of Covid-19.

The most common symptoms of the virus include fever, dry cough and a loss of smell, with most sufferers experiencing a mild form of these symptoms.

Most people will recover within a few days, but up to 5 percent of infections will require hospitalisation and further medical treatment.

Some people are also reporting persistent symptoms that last for months – even if they’re only experiencing a relatively mild case.

Here are the long term symptoms to look out for:

Some people with coronavirus are finding that their symptoms linger for months. This can happen to people with mild cases of the disease, as well as people who become severely ill and require acute medical care.

Months after contracting the virus some survivors are still reporting suffering from fatigue, breathlessness and exhaustion.

Others have chest pain or joint pain.

In a blog post published by the British Medical Journal, Paul Garner said he had had the disease for seven weeks, and his symptoms had been waxing and waning.

He reported a “muggy head, upset stomach, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), pins and needles, breathlessness, dizziness and arthritis in the hands.”

The full, long-term effects of the virus remain unknown as the disease was only discovered relatively recently.

However, it is becoming more and more apparent that the virus can cause longer-lasting damage to one’s health – even after recovery.

According to the British Heart Foundation, more severe cases can permanently damage the lungs, and impact their ability to supply oxygen to the bloodstream. 

This drop in oxygen levels can damage key organs such as the kidneys, brain and heart.

Coronavirus has also been linked to a higher risk of blood clots, which can then lead to serious health problems such as deep vein thrombosis, heart attacks and stroke. 

According to Dr Christopher Kellner, a professor of neurosurgery in New York, even more mild cases have been linked to blood clotting and led to severe strokes in people as young as 30. 

According to the BHF: “as well as heart failure, heart complications of severe Covid-19 can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), takotsubo syndrome (‘broken heart syndrome’) or heart rhythm disturbances.”

One study in Germany found that patients who have recovered from the virus are left with similar heart damage to that caused by a heart attack.

It is not yet known how long this damage may last, or what the full consequences may be on health in the long-term, but this suggests why many survivors are left feeling fatigued for a long time after they recover from the initial virus.

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