Understanding Long Covid In 5 Questions.

More than three years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, persistent symptoms of this disease are a reality for millions of people around the world. We offer you a better understanding of Long Covid in 5 questions.

"What is Long Covid?"

The World Health Organization defines long Covid as the persistence of symptoms following an infection with the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus.

In France, the High Authority of Health (HAS) speaks of prolonged symptoms following Covid-19 when the symptoms persist for more than 4 weeks after the presumed date of contamination.

According to the WHO criteria, symptoms must persist for at least 12 weeks, cannot be explained by another cause, and have an impact on the patient's daily life.

"What are the symptoms of Long Covid?"

It is difficult to diagnose this disease because there is no biomarker for Long Covid. Doctors must proceed by elimination and their diagnosis is complicated by the impressive number of possible symptoms (WHO has listed 200!).

Among the most common symptoms of this pathology, we can mention intense fatigue, respiratory problems (such as chest pain and difficulty breathing), as well as neurological disorders (notably taste and smell disorders).

This pathology can also manifest itself through cardiac, joint, digestive or skin problems.

The diagnosis is even more complex as many organs can be affected by often fluctuating and recurring symptoms... Symptoms can be different and of varying intensity from one patient to another.

3- Who is concerned?

To date, it is estimated that almost 145 million people worldwide are affected by prolonged symptoms after being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

According to official statistics, between 10 and 20% of people infected with Covid-19 develop a long form of the disease.

Doctors do not yet know why some patients are affected by long Covid, but several possibilities are being considered. Abnormalities in the immune system or problems with blood clotting in small vessels could be the cause of this condition.

As of July 2022, 2 million patients are affected in France, but no typical profile emerges.

However, doctors have identified aggravating factors that increase the risk of suffering from long Covid:
• being a woman
• being an elderly person
• having diabetes
• having suffered from more than 5 symptoms during Covid infection
• having been hospitalized for a severe form of Covid-19.

Nevertheless, even patients with a mild form of the disease can be affected by persistent symptoms. It is even possible to develop a long form following a second infection, even if this was not the case during the first infection.

What is the treatment for Long Covid?

As a preventive measure, anti-Covid vaccination reduces the risk of developing long Covid by 20%. This is one of the reasons why it is interesting to continue getting vaccinated if you are a high-risk person.

The first people affected by prolonged post-coronavirus symptoms had to face the incomprehension of doctors and a real medical wandering. Since then, patient associations have mobilized to better identify and treat this pathology.

Today, structures specialized in the treatment of long Covid in France are listed on the websites of Regional Health Agencies (ARS). For affected patients, the road to recovery is long because 80% of them still have symptoms one year after infection, and 10 to 15% of them are still not cured after 3 years...

Management mainly consists of prescribing rehabilitation to treat various symptoms. No global treatment exists to date, although research is ongoing.

5- Is long Covid recognized as a chronic disease?

Long Covid is a disease recognized by the WHO since August 2020. In France, this condition has been recognized by the High Authority of Health since February 2021.

It can be recognized as an occupational disease under certain conditions if the person was infected in the course of their professional activity.

However, there is no long-term illness or ALD for persistent symptoms of Covid-19.

If a patient is already in ALD and their condition worsens due to Covid infection, this worsening of their health will be covered by ALD.

The same applies if the patient suffers from sequelae that are listed in the ALD list, such as respiratory failure.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Timur Weber on Pexels
Tags: long COVID, disease, infection, ALD, COVID-19, listed, France, Pathology, Doctors, diagnosis, high authority, Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, blood clotting, diabetes, vaccination, vaccinated, ARS, cured, rehabilitation, chronic disease, sequelae, HEALTH, Occupational disease, Immune System, organs, skin, COVID-19 pandemic, World Health Organization, contamination, biomarker, fatigue, respiratory, Chest pain, difficulty breathing, neurological disorders, taste, smell, cardiac, Respiratory failure,
More informations: https://www.ameli.fr/alpes-maritimes/medecin/sante-prevention/pathologies/covid-long-quel-diagnostic-et-prise-en-charge
In French: Comprendre le Covid long en 5 questions
En español: Comprender el Covid largo en 5 preguntas.
In italiano: Capire il Covid lungo in 5 domande.
Auf Deutsch: Verstehen Sie Long-Covid in 5 Fragen.
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