What is Long Haul COVID?
The CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC) defines long haul COVID symptoms, also known as PASC (post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2), as new, returning, or ongoing health problems appearing four or more weeks after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The most common symptoms include fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, neurological issues, endothelial dysfunction, headache, loss of taste and smell, GI issues, and muscle pain.
Why is long-haulers syndrome so common and long-lasting?
Some people who had COVID-19 suffer from multiorgan effects or autoimmune conditions over a longer time, with symptoms lasting weeks or months after COVID-19 illness. This can affect many, if not all, body systems.
Professor Gail Matthews co-leads ADAPT and is Head of Infectious Diseases at St Vincent’s Hospital and Program Head of Vaccine and Therapeutic Research at the Kirby Institute. She says when someone has a virus, the immune system gets switched on to respond to the virus and eliminate it. “But what we’re seeing with long COVID is that even when the virus has completely left the body, the immune system remains switched on. If you measure the same thing after a standard cough or cold, which we did in this study through one of our control groups, this signal is not there. It’s unique to sufferers of long COVID.”
Dr. Chansavath Phetsouphanh, who is a senior research associate at the Kirby Institute stated, “We found that there is a significant and sustained inflammation that indicates prolonged activation of the immune system response detectable for at least eight months following initial infection.”
People experiencing long-haul COVID symptoms have underlying inflammation that needs to be addressed. Much of this inflammation will go undetected on routine lab work ordered by primary care physicians.
Why aren’t people getting better?
Following recovery from COVID-19 infection, some patients experience a rise in autoimmunity and increased inflammatory status. This widespread inflammation is responsible for the long haul symptoms that patients experience. Increases in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, macrophage activation syndrome, and myocarditis have been reported. When the body is inflamed it becomes a “weakened host” allowing pathogens, bacteria, and imbalances to take root in the opportunistic setting of multi-system inflammation. Inflammation is a critical part of recovery, helping the body to get rid of the source of damage and helping it repair injured tissue, but too much of it has negative effects. If the root of the inflammation is not found, the symptoms will persist indefinitely.
How we get results for our clients:
Among post-COVID-19 patients, there is a large-scale rise in new medical issues and conditions. Even people who had mild COVID symptoms during the time of their infection can suffer from long haul COVID symptoms. Lack of diagnostic criteria from routine labs does not mean that people are not suffering.
Effective strategies to help long-hauler patients are critical. This new wave of medical issues requires a multi-prong and novel approach. Functional medicine has never been so in demand as it is now. Post-COVID patients are realizing that masking their symptoms is not only ineffective but also becoming very costly. For this reason, many long-haul COVID patients have sought out alternative approaches to find the answers they are looking for.
The only way to find solutions to long-term COVID symptoms is to leave no stone left unturned and complete full system analysis. Our functional lab tests find the root of post-COVID residual inflammation. Genomic testing provides valuable information that can assist us in an individual approach for those dealing with long-haul covid symptoms. Our approach includes dietary and nutritional support, resolving gut dysbiosis, and addressing residual underlying inflammation. Equally important is having a skilled practitioner who can interpret results and develop an individualized plan to eliminate symptoms. Answers must be sought down to the cellular level in order to successfully assuage long-haul COVID symptoms.