If you haven’t been infected with coronavirus however, consider yourself lucky. In February 2022, almost 60% of all Americans had already had at least one case of COVID, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But while some of those cases disappeared within a week or so, a number of people infected with the virus weren’t so lucky. Some people who have had COVID experience long-term problems that can last for months or even years, a condition known as long COVID.
Although there is no clear figure, it is estimated that anywhere between 7 and 23 million Americans have developed long COVID, according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). Although many of these cases are debilitating, it is also possible that you may experience lingering symptoms without even realizing it. Doctors are now warning of a nighttime problem that may be associated with long COVID. Read on to find out what you should be looking for.
Long COVID covers a wide range of health conditions, According to the CDC. The most common general symptoms reported by people who suffer from post-COVID conditions include tiredness and fatigue that interferes with daily life, symptoms that worsen after physical or mental exertion, and fever. Other signs include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, and trouble thinking.
These symptoms “can last more than four weeks or even months after infection,” according to the CDC. “Sometimes the symptoms may even disappear or reappear.”
These are just some of the symptoms that could mean you are suffering from long COVID. Virus experts are now warning that another sign could be so familiar that it is not recognized as a symptom at all.
“Sleep disturbances are one of the most common symptoms that patients who suffer from post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection have these days,” Cinthya PenaMD, a sleep specialist for the Cleveland Clinic, told Nexstar Media Group.
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The problem with sleep stems from the fact that COVID can affect an individual’s circadian rhythm, Pena told Nexstar. “So what we mainly see is that they complain of insomnia, fatigue, but also brain fog, some of them sometimes have circadian rhythm disorders,” she explained. .
According to the Cleveland Clinic, circadian rhythm sleep disorders occur when your body”internal clock” doesn’t match your environment. “The circadian rhythm, the name given to your body’s internal 24-hour clock, controls your sleep-wake cycle of the body“, explain the clinic’s experts. This could mean that you feel tired during the day but do not get tired and stay asleep at night.
The CDC warns that it can be difficult for healthcare providers to recognize what is and is not a symptom of long COVID. “There is no single test for post-COVID conditions,” the agency explains. “While most people with post-COVID conditions have evidence of COVID-19 infection or illness, in some cases a person with post-COVID conditions may not have tested positive for the virus or know that she was infected.”
According to the CDC, the wide variety of post-COVID conditions makes it harder to assess whether the problem is from a coronavirus infection or something else. “Your health care provider considers a diagnosis of post-COVID conditions based on your medical history, including whether you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 either by testing positive or by symptoms or exposure, as well than on completing a health examination,” the agency said.
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