Coronavirus: Long Covid is ‘unrelenting and crushing’ for a former athlete

Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children

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One of the mysteries of long Covid baffling scientists is there is no way to know who will develop long Covid and who won’t.

What has surprised researchers is how even athletes are developing long Covid symptoms despite every indication they shouldn’t.

This includes physical therapist and former athlete Emily Caffee.

The former rower was infected with COVID-19 in March 2020 and has been living with long Covid since.

Caffee said when she was diagnosed there wasn’t “very much to go off of in those early days. I think now we have so much more information”.

Caffee describes the experience of long Covid as “unrelenting and crushing” when she found she couldn’t perform to the same level, suffering from severe fatigue, anxiety, and brain fog.

Such was the impact of long Covid she had to take medical leave to recover.

After thorough research and alterations including dietary changes, meditating, and restorative yoga, Caffee says she is “90 to 95 percent better”.

While Caffee has for the most part recovered, thousands of long Covid patients haven’t and each day live with the uncertainty of what long Covid will bring them when they awake in the morning.

Long Covid has been described by some as constantly reshuffling a pack of cards, constantly dealing patients a new hand.

Chief of neuro-infectious diseases and global neurology at Northwestern University Dr Igor Koralnik said: “We saw that although patients tended to improve slightly over time between the first and second visit, they still had a lower quality of life.”

On whether vaccines played a role in protecting individuals from long Covid, Dr Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University added: “Vaccines do protect some but not a whole lot from long Covid.

“The risk reduction is about 15 percent, and that’s really a very modest amount.”

Dr Al-Aly has previously voiced concern about not just the impact of long Covid, but the impact of COVID-19 on the body.

Research lead by Al-Aly has found someone who experiences even a mild case of COVID-19 is at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Furthermore, a report published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) said people who had had COVID-19 “had a 72 percent increased risk of heart failure, 63 percent increased risk of heart attack, and a 52 percent increased risk of stroke compared with controls”.

It was found the risk rose regardless of age, sex, gender, or ethnicity.

Going forward campaigners and scientists are saying more funding should be put into long Covid clinics to support the growing numbers of patients.

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