COVID-19: Long-term effects

Some people continue to have health problems long after contracting COVID-19. Understand the symptoms and potential risk factors for post-COVID-19 syndrome.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Most people who get coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) recover within a few weeks. But some people — even those with mild versions of the disease — may have symptoms that persist long afterward. These persistent health problems are sometimes called postCOVID-19 Post SyndromeCorona virus disease long terms COVID-19Long-term COVID-19and beyond acute consequences of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC) infection.

What is post-COVID-19 syndrome and how common is it?

Mail-COVID-19 The syndrome includes a variety of new, recurring, or persistent symptoms that people experience more than four weeks after infection COVID-19. In some people, post-COVID-19 The syndrome persists for months or years or causes disability.

Research suggests that between one month and a year later COVID-191 in 5 people between the ages of 18 and 64 has at least one medical condition that may be caused by COVID-19. Among people 65 years of age or older, 1 in 4 has at least one medical condition that may be caused by it COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of post-COVID-19 syndrome?

The most common symptoms reported afterCOVID-19 The syndrome includes:

  • fatigue
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental exertion
  • Fever
  • Lung (respiratory) symptoms, including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath and cough

Other possible symptoms include:

  • Neurological symptoms or mental health conditions, including difficulty thinking or concentrating, headache, trouble sleeping, dizziness when standing, tingling feeling, loss of sense of smell or taste, depression or anxiety
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Heart symptoms or conditions, including chest pain and fast or pounding heartbeats
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea and stomach pain
  • Blood clots and blood vessels (blood vessels), including a blood clot that travels to the lungs from the deep veins in the legs and blocks blood flow to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Other symptoms, such as a rash and changes in your menstrual cycle

Keep in mind that it can be hard to tell if you’re experiencing symptoms because of this COVID-19 Or another cause, such as a pre-existing medical condition.

It is also not clear whetherCOVID-19 A new and unique syndrome COVID-19. Some symptoms are similar to those caused by chronic fatigue syndrome and other chronic diseases that develop after infection. Chronic fatigue syndrome involves extreme fatigue that gets worse with physical or mental activity, but does not get better with rest.

Why is COVID-19 causing ongoing health problems?

Organ damage can play a role. People who are severely ill with COVID-19 You may experience organ damage that affects the heart, kidneys, skin and brain. Infections and problems with the immune system can also occur. It is not clear how long these effects may last. The effects can also trigger new conditions, such as diabetes, heart or nervous system disease.

severe injury experience COVID-19 It may be another factor. People with severe symptoms COVID-19 It often needs treatment in a hospital’s intensive care unit. This can lead to severe impairment and post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition caused by a terrifying event.

What are risk factors for post-COVID-19 syndrome?

You may be more likely to have post-COVID-19 syndrome if:

  • You have had a severe illness with COVID-19Especially if you are in the hospital or need intensive care.
  • You had certain medical conditions prior to receiving COVID-19 virus.
  • You have had a condition that affects your organs and tissues (multi-systemic inflammatory syndrome) while you are sick COVID-19 or after that.

Mail-COVID-19 The syndrome appears to be more common in adults than in children and adolescents. However, anyone who gets COVID-19 It can have long-term effects, including for people without symptoms or mild illness COVID-19.

What should you do if you have symptoms of post-COVID-19 syndrome?

If you suffer from post-symptomsCOVID-19 Syndrome, talk to your healthcare provider. To prepare for your appointment, write:

  • When did the symptoms start?
  • What makes your symptoms worse
  • How often do you experience symptoms?
  • How your symptoms affect your activities

Your health care provider may do lab tests, such as a complete blood count or liver function test. You may have other tests or procedures, such as a chest X-ray, based on your symptoms. The information you provide and any results from your health care provider’s test will help create a treatment plan.

In addition, you may benefit from networking with others in the support group and sharing resources.