Woman, 28, diagnosed with long Covid after ‘debilitating’ symptoms

Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus

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Long Covid is the ugly outcome of coronavirus infection that doesn’t differentiate between mild and severe symptoms. This means you might be at risk of the long-term condition even if you only came down with a mild case of the virus. A case report, published in the British Medical Journal, paints a scary picture of how bad post COVID-19 syndrome can get.

Once you’ve battled the initial Covid infection, the virus might not be quite ready to say goodbye once and for all.

The culprit could leave you with persistent stubborn symptoms that last for months – better known as long Covid.

An estimated two million people are thought to be living with this long-term condition in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The case study describes a 28-year-old woman who was unfortunate enough to develop this condition.

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The previously healthy patient battled COVID-19 back in August 2020, with her initial symptoms being fever, cough, muscle pains, loss of smell and rash.

The woman self-quarantined at home and received supportive care during this ongoing stage.

But despite her initial efforts, she continued to experience stubborn sign of tiredness, lethargy, dizziness, tachycardia (a heart rate over 100 beats a minute) and shortness of breath.

The 28-year-old also struggled with increasing back pain and chest tightness.

Her symptoms appeared to fluctuate unpredictably over the following weeks, leaving her unable to identify any factors that would worsen or alleviate these signs.

Eventually, these signs became so “debilitating” that she ended up bedridden and unable to resume her professional work.

She said: “During the first three months, I was completely debilitated, mostly [bedridden], and unable to socialise, exercise, or partake in any hobbies. 

“When I pushed myself, I ended up spending days in bed. 

“As someone who has always been very healthy and active this has been difficult for me. My symptoms have tremendously affected my quality of life.”

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Her cognition also took the hit, with symptoms like reduced concentration, poor memory, brain fog and “non-specific head buzzing” taking over her brain.

She was recommended treatment of a low-dose beta blockers called propranolol to target the tachycardia in combination with regular inhaler therapy.

The woman said: “Life is still anything but normal, but I am glad to have received a diagnosis. 

“I have been told my recovery is likely to be very gradual and currently I am trying to set realistic goals with an attempted phased return to work. 

“I have also been recommended to start physiotherapy, yoga, and Pilates, which seem to be having a positive effect on my health.”

According to the NHS, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to long Covid but your doctor will be able to talk to you about the care and support you might need.

Your goals will most likely focus on managing the stubborn symptoms that are causing you problems.

The length of recovery is different for everybody, with many people feeling better in a few weeks and most making significant improvement within 12 weeks. Unfortunately, some people might struggle with symptoms for far longer.

The full list of symptoms linked to long Covid includes:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of smell
  • Muscle aches
  • Problems with your memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tinnitus, earaches
  • Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • High temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste.

The health service recommends seeing a GP if you’re worried about symptoms four weeks or more after you had the initial infection.

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