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Monday - Friday 8:00 - 6:30
Saturday and Sunday - CLOSED

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Recover ITC
8877 Harry Hines #100
Dallas, TX 75235

How Do Long-Haul COVID and Chronic Illness Interact?

Chronic illnesses—diseases or conditions that last a year or longer or longer, according to the CDC, and may get worse over time—are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. They are also the driver of the nation’s $4.1 trillion in health care costs and include conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.

People experiencing chronic illness face a litany of challenges accessing health care and managing their illnesses, including prohibitive costs, a lack of transparency, and numerous logistical barriers. When you add long-haul COVID to that list, managing a chronic illness becomes even more complicated.

Let’s dive into the interaction between COVID and chronic illnesses, including how COVID and long-haul COVID impact people with existing chronic illnesses, and whether long-haul COVID can amplify or cause symptoms of chronic illness.

Are People with Chronic Illness More Likely to Contract Long-Haul COVID?

Yes, you are more likely to contract long-haul COVID if you have an existing chronic illness and vice versa. Even for those without a chronic illness, long-haul COVID is more common than you might think. One in five COVID patients between the ages of 18 and 64 may suffer from long-haul COVID.

A 2023 study of 800,000 published in Health Affairsone of the largest studies of its kind thus far, shines a valuable light on the interaction between long-haul COVID and chronic illnesses. Researchers found that people with long-haul COVID were more likely to be older, female, and struggling with chronic conditions.

The study also found that the leading risk factors for long-haul COVID are high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression. There is significant overlap between the symptoms of these chronic conditions and the symptoms many long-haulers experience.

It may be difficult to tell if a patient has long-haul COVID, or, instead, if their bout with COVID-19 has amplified their existing illness (more on that below).

Are Long-Haul COVID Patients More Likely to be Diagnosed with a Chronic Illness?

Multiple studies have linked COVID-19 with the development of blood clots, diabetes, and neurological conditions. People who have had COVID-19 may be more likely to develop new health conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, blood clots, or neurological conditions compared with people who have not had COVID-19.

Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 may be at increased risk for acute kidney injury (AKI), a condition in which your kidneys stop working the way they should.

Because COVID-19 can have such long-lasting and often debilitating impacts, it’s critical for patients to seek treatment if symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, chest pain, and others persist for months after an initial COVID-19 diagnosis.

How Do Chronic Illnesses Amplify Long-Haul COVID?

Long-haul COVID can enhance the fatigue and joint pains some patients may already be experiencing with preexisting conditions, and the interaction of long COVID and chronic illnesses has the potential to weaken the heart and the lungs. Each of these can be treated with the right combination of medication and therapies.

For chronic illness patients, one of the most difficult impacts of developing long-haul COVID is that it’s yet another illness to manage. As anyone with chronic illnesses can attest, managing a long-term condition can be the equivalent of a full-time job. As a result, a diagnosis of long-haul COVID requires a compassionate medical team that can help you understand how to best manage your symptoms.

Will Ongoing Long-Haul COVID Research Provide Answers for Other Little-Understood Illnesses?

Yes. In fact, many encouraging multidisciplinary research studies are already increasing our collective understanding of both long-haul COVID and illnesses such as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). These studies have also helped researchers gain a more in-depth understanding of blood clots, hypercoagulation, and vascular-related autonomic dysfunction. In short, long-haul COVID research has the potential to help researchers and physicians alike know even more about our immune systems.

Another positive outcome of this research is the ongoing de-stigmatization of conditions such as brain fog and other mental illnesses. Researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health have already discovered that brain fog may be caused by the immune system reacting to the SARS-CoV-2 virus infecting the brain.

How We Treat Long-Haul COVID

As of today, there is no definitive cure for long-haul COVID, and there’s no one treatment for the disease. However, it is possible to treat the symptoms and their ultimate cause: inflammation.

At Recover ITC, our health care providers take a 360-degree view of your health with a comprehensive diagnostic workup and full-body evaluation. We then work with you to develop a custom treatment plan based on your unique symptoms and needs.

If you think you may have long-haul COVID, schedule an appointment with Recover ITC today. We’re ready to help you finally find relief from your inflammation symptoms and get you back to living like you’re used to.

Each patient’s treatment plan differs, but the goal remains the same: to leave with a better understanding of your health.

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