As coronavirus cases continue to climb, doctors are also seeing more patients struggling with a wide range of symptoms several months after contracting the virus.
The symptoms can range from a racing heart rate to extreme fatigue and even cognitive issues. There is a new effort underway to find the cause of the post-COVID symptoms.
It has been a mystery why some people recover completely from COVID and others go on to develop serious and debilitating symptoms.
Millions of Americans have contracted COVID-19 and for an increasing number, the ordeal continues for months. Because researchers are still learning how the virus affects the body, the causes behind post-COVID syndrome are a mystery.
A new study from National Jewish Health reveals answers that may lead to treatments for patients who continue to live with ongoing effects of the virus.
Joanna Zieger is an Olympic triathlete and Ironman champion. After contracting COVID she now struggles when taking her dog for a walk or climbing a flight of stairs. She also struggles with brain fog and memory issues, symptoms that never went away after contracting COVID five months ago.
“It’s been a very difficult transition, both work-wise and exercise-wise and for my mental health, just not having all of that,” Zieger said.
She turned to National Jewish Health for help, where doctors and researchers have established the Center for Post-COVID Care and Recovery, to find the common link between those who experience long-term effects of the virus.
Heart and lung tests were usually normal in these patients, so researchers looked deeper to the cellular level using a unique exercise test that produces hundreds of data points at once.
Researchers determined that in certain people the virus hinders cells from generating energy. While the test revealed dysfunction in muscle tissue, they believe this same cell process could be linked to post-COVID symptoms in the neurological and pulmonary systems as well.
It’s a discovery that helps experts better understand the problem so they can begin to help people get back to their lives. Experts said there is still work to be done before treatments for Post-COVID Syndrome are available. They stress the best way to avoid these harmful effects is to prevent infection in the first place by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.
Read: Complete Michigan COVID coverage