Why long Covid will be a long journey
Some Preliminary studies have previously suggested that imbalances in the microbiome of long Covid patients could be contributing to their persistent inflammatory symptoms. But while more research is likely to be needed before drugs like prebiotics or anti-inflammatories are recommended for long-term Covid patients as part of general clinical practice, some individual symptoms are already proving to be more treatable. that others.
Heightman says longtime Covid patients with allergic-type reactions tend to respond well to antihistamines, while Amy Kontorovich, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai specializing in the treatment of dysautonomia, has developed a known new physiotherapy program under the name of Autonomous Conditioning Therapy (ACT) which has shown the ability to reduce symptoms of fatigue in some long-term Covid patients, and has since been adopted by 53 physiotherapy centers in the New York area. Kontorovich explains that ACT begins with range of motion exercises, before moving on to various aerobic exercises that slowly increase in intensity, but never allow the patient to exceed 85% of their maximum heart rate. This one is inspired by a similar reconditioning program, which has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a form of dysautonomia known as POTS.
“It seems to program the autonomic nervous system to sort of rewire things,” she says. “One of the interesting trends that I have observed in many long-term Covid patients that I have treated is that they were previously very active, and during the period of their acute illness they were either lying down in bed or mainly sedentary. This period of inactivity may be a contributing factor to the post-Covid dysautonomia model, as we know it can happen with deconditioning. “
ACT is not a complete panacea – Kontorovich points out that some patients with particularly severe dysautonomia are often unable to complete the program because they feel too bad – but she first results show that it can benefit patients who are able to complete it.
Heightman adds that many long-term Covid patients simply get better over time as their bodies recover and heal. As SARS-CoV-2 has only been around for a little over a year and a half, it is still too early to say how long chronic symptoms can last. “I don’t want anyone who has long symptoms of Covid to be really worried that it will never go away, because a very large proportion of people get better in the first year,” she says.
For those who continue to struggle, however, the hope is that the millions of dollars in research grants distributed will provide viable treatment options, otherwise the long Covid could leave indelible social and economic consequences on society. “If we don’t find answers, you could be talking to millions of people who won’t be able to work the same way,” Kaufman explains. “A very large proportion of long-term Covid patients are healthcare workers. They are educated, active and highly productive people who can no longer function. The impact of this is going to be huge. “
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