20% of Young COVID Patients at Risk of Post-COVID Syndrome

September 12, 2020

    The progression of COVID-19 continues to cause confusion and concern among physicians and public health experts.

    “The one thing that is quite interesting about COVID is that people start feeling worse in the second week of their illness,” said Dr. Maja Artandi, director of Stanford’s clinic for outpatient COVID-19 care, the CROWN clinic. She explained that despite many comparisons to the flu, with influenza patients know early on that they are sick. “With COVID, you feel a little bit sick and then in the second week things can get much worse very fast.”

    Another area of concern is symptoms that can linger for weeks even after patients have mostly recovered from the virus. Common symptoms of post-COVID syndrome include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, pulmonary symptoms like cough and shortness of breath and cardiac symptoms such as arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy (inflammation of the cardiac muscles).

    “We still don’t really know why people have post-COVID syndrome. There’s one theory that the immune system is still working overtime to try to get rid of the virus even though the virus is already gone,” said Dr. Artandi.

    While lingering symptoms generally correlate with patients who develop serious cases of illness or are already at high risk, Dr. Artandi says even young, healthy people are at risk.

    “I do have quite a few patients, even young patients, who have symptoms weeks after. And that’s very hard for those patients… about one in five of the younger patients, the patients under 35, have developed post-COVID syndrome and they still are feeling sick several weeks after having had COVID.”

    Dr. Artandi says the virus is very serious and should not be taken lightly.

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