Monday, April 18, 2022

Long Covid

I think the reason we are hearing conflicting reports is not only because we have become so divided - Covid was not that bad vs. Covid was much worse than you are acknowledging, but because that fed into a polarising tendency to exaggerate in the direction we like. 

I believe we are now talking about two separate things and as I expect no help from the culture in differentiating those in clear language, I suggest we do it ourselves. 

Anytime you get a virus, there is a danger of long-term, very bad effects.  These are usually rare, but they are well-documented for decades and quite real. It varies from virus to virus. OTOH, bsking sent me a study which defined Long Covid by a standard of any of 32 symptoms still present after 28 days.  That is real, but I think we have to call that a low bar. I don't think we close cities over that. I am wondering about that for myself, back-and-forth. I will not belabor my own medical history, but I am older (1953) and fat (less fat than I was) and qualify for metabolic syndrome. So even before covid, I could be expecting gradual deterioration offset by more exercise in retirement, perhaps punctuated by steps downward after any illness. So anything I observe about myself after covid carries a question mark.

As there seems to be a run on people who are claiming serious post-covid symptoms, more than one might expect, I am conscious of the question mark. Yet I do detect a difference this year from last year, even months after covid (Oct-Nov).  What does it mean?  My blood pressure went up but is medication-controlled - with an increase since covid. My blood sugars remain well-controlled, but I wonder about circulatory issues and oxygen-exchange issues.  I was actually hoping to have my "mild COPD" diagnosis dropped after testing this summer, a decade after quitting smoking.  I am no longer confident of this. Throughout the winter I thought I tired more easily and was more bothered by cold. There is more, but i shan't bore you. Small stuff, yet I think real.

I think this is exactly what a lot of people are going to be wondering after having had covid.  Some will strive to make their symptoms appear worse (even to themselves), others will attempt to deny real symptoms, but most will be in between, wondering. My own prediction is that cardiovascular long-term effects will be more than expected, and neurological effects will be real but subtle and detectable mostly in aggregate.  Pray that there are no chronic effects for children with mild cases.

We hate wondering and leap to conclusions, and unfortunately these will be influenced by our political and cultural beliefs, plus the (likely small) disease worry and disease denial* we had preloaded before 2020. It is unfortunately likely that most of us will never know whether our particular mild symptoms were from covid or from getting older and fatter. Sussing out the reality will involve looking at large numbers of people and seeing whether there is an increase over what would have been expected if covid had been contained in China to the index case, sent to a mountain with food airdropped in for him.

The best I can say WRT to actually understanding what is up versus being able to win arguments is to regard Long Covid as two different things.  Eventually it will likely be considered a continuum, but we hate those.  For now, divide it into two and try to keep your head above water.


PenGun said...

A good friend's wife has been down for 20 days now after contracting Covid. Its worrying as she is not in great shape and it may be dragging on because of this. We don't know.

I after almost 7 months of fighting sciatica, have figured it out and am back up my mountains. It appears it was lack of ass muscle. We lose muscle steadily after about 50, and even though I walk my hills all the time, mine had atrophied. The nerve that is the problem travels through the hip area in several ways and it occurred to me lack of ass muscle was the problem. So squats and deadlifts have cured my problem. I have gone back to the full weight routine because of this and although I am ridiculously weak, this can be fixed. We know muscle building works well into your 90s.

So I get to try to blow up my heart, on a regular basis once again. ;)

Grim said...

Of late I notice that vax skeptics' attribution of bad things to the vax largely overlaps with the symptoms of "Long COVID." Higher blood pressure, blood clots, cardiac issues in general, both are supposed to be associated with both the vaccine side effects and with the virus itself. Increasingly I wonder if there's any capacity to pull apart what might be one or might be the other; I'm fairly sure there's not a capacity to convince either side to take the other side's claims seriously. "Your problems are because you really had COVID." "Yours are because you shouldn't have taken the jab." There isn't the trust necessary for resolution of these concerns, even if we had scientific findings from a source that was apolitical (itself a limiting factor), clear, and comprehensive.

I do know one guy through the Volunteer Fire Department who is also an EMT. He had the vaccine (J&J), and then later contracted COVID and lost his sense of taste. That was last autumn, and he still doesn't have it back. He otherwise seems none the worse for wear, and is a highly active middle-aged man with a demanding job. His mind seems clear, his sense of humor remains very jovial, but he is clearly suffering from some long-term effects -- at least one -- and who can say what others there might be?

Now it is definitely true that weight training will cure many ills. Others it will treat effectively for a long time, even if it can't cure them. I was doing deadlifts myself today. They're one of the best all-around exercises.

james said...

"Sleep cures nothing and treats everything."
Hmm. Should I take a nap or get to bed earlier?

I probably should find somebody to guide me on doing weight training without injury. Some I can probably do with stuff at home.

PenGun said...

james, start here:

This my 3 day split, but I am an experienced lifter:

I use dumbbells, as when you are on your own and get it wrong you can just drop them. A barbell can kill you if you screw up presses.