Long Covid: ‘Memory, concentration or sleep problems’ are ‘common’ signs

Nick Knowles reveals he kept his long covid 'a secret'

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The NHS says most people who have had Covid will recover with no long-term impact on their memory and concentration, though other people may find problems last longer. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “Everyone’s experience is different, so it’s important to chat to your GP about the symptoms you are experiencing. They can tell you how to best manage them, and let you know what other support is available.”

The Mayo Clinic says memory, concentration or sleep problems may “linger over time”.

The organisation says other signs include:

  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain or headache
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Dizziness when you stand
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

The NHS says if your memory is affected, you may find it difficult to hold information in your head in order to use it to make decisions based on that information, you may struggle to recall something that has happened, or forget to take medication on time.

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The Mayo Clinic says: “Although COVID-19 is seen as a disease that primarily affects the lungs, it can also damage many other organs, including the heart, kidneys and the brain.

“Organ damage may lead to health complications that linger after COVID-19 illness.

“In some people, lasting health effects may include long-term breathing problems, heart complications, chronic kidney impairment, stroke and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis.”

It notes that some adults and children experience multisystem inflammatory syndrome after they have had COVID-19.

The NHS notes that how long it takes to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody.

It explains that the chances of having long-term symptoms do not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19, as “people who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems”.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “In research published in October 2021, the Office for National Statistics used data from the UK Coronavirus Infection Survey to look at the association between COVID-19 vaccination and long Covid in people who already had it before the vaccine.”

The researchers found that the first vaccine was associated with an initial 13 percent decrease in the likelihood of self-reported long Covid.

The NHS advice on long Covid says people who are recovering from an illness often report feeling a little better each day, and it can take time to fully recover.

It says: “With Long Covid you may feel fatigued after activities which were not previously difficult to cope with and this can affect your quality of life and ability to function as you did previously. This is more likely to occur at the end of the day or at the end of a busy week.

“Sometimes people experience a number of other symptoms worsening after physical stress. This could include brain fog, muscle aches or headaches alongside increased fatigue.

“Clinicians may call these ‘post exertional symptoms’. They are not in themselves dangerous but can affect your quality of life.”

The Mayo Clinic explains much is still unknown about how COVID-19 will affect people over time, but research is ongoing.

It says: “Researchers recommend that doctors closely monitor people who have had COVID-19 to see how their organs are functioning after recovery.”

The BHF says Long Covid clinics are being rolled out across England and have started in Wales to help those struggling with ongoing symptoms.

It says: “Speak to your GP or healthcare professional to find out if you are being referred.”

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