Nonstop inflammation and immune problems top the list of potential causes of long COVID, but doctors say it's growing clear that more than one thing is to blame for the wide swath of often debilitating symptoms that could last months or even years. [Medscape]
"I think that it's a much more complex picture than just inflammation, or just autoimmunity, or just immune dysregulation. And it's probably a combination of all three causing a cascade of effects that then manifests itself as brain fog, or shortness of breath, or chronic fatigue," says Alexander Truong, MD, a pulmonologist and assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, who also runs a long COVID clinic.
Long COVID, post-COVID-19 condition, and post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC) are among the terms used by the National Institutes of Health to describe the long-term health issues faced by an estimated 10% to 30% of people infected with COVID-19. Symptoms — as many as 200 — can range from inconvenient to crippling, damage multiple organ systems, come and go, and relapse. Long COVID increases the risk of worsening existing health problems and triggering new ones, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.