COVID-19 is not over yet and everyone is pretty aware of what’s going on in India and other countries as well. Still, many have stopped taking precautionary measures such as wearing a face mask, using hand sanitiser and frequent washing of hands. If you are not infected with Covid-19 so far, great, we wish you luck and good health (no sarcasm). If you were infected in the past, we advise you to continue using protective measures until a cure comes for this disease. In this regard, we would like to bring to you what ‘long covid’ looks like, its symptoms and how an alternative therapy is helping patients get back to their ‘pre-covid’ health.
What is long covid?
If the symptoms of covid persist for several weeks or months even after testing negative for the disease, the condition is called ‘long covid’ and the worst part is, no one knows how long the long covid symptoms will last in an individual. We have been seeing cases, where just two weeks of Covid-19 infection has left a long lasting damage in people’s bodies. Covid-19 is a very silent virus which doesn’t reveal itself as soon as it gets into the body; this is true with any virus actually. The person gets notified with the symptoms only after a certain level of damage is done to the internal organs including lungs, heart, kidneys, thyroid gland, pancreas, liver, brain, nervous system, blood etc.
Symptoms of long Covid include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Neurocognitive impairment (This can include inability to think like before, function like before, memory loss, inability to multitask like before etc.)
- Joint pains, Muscle aches, Chest pain
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Depression or Anxiety etc.
The base variant of Covid-19 used to attack the lungs more than any other organ but the later variants are targeting almost every organ in the body resulting in multi-organ inflammation including the inflammation of heart.
How HBOT helped long Covid-19 patients?
As per a research published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, it has been found that HBOT could bring back a patient with significant neurocognitive impairment and fatigue to pre-covid condition and the researchers strongly recommend HBOT for those who might be suffering from long Covid.
About the research
A 55 year old man who presented himself to the doctors 3 months after COVID-19 infection with a couple of long Covid-19 symptoms including neurocognitive impairment and fatigue. Doctors figured that the reason for the symptoms could be due to hypercoagulability – a condition that causes blood vessels to close and an uncontrolled continuous inflammatory response. His other symptoms included loss of memory, loss of multitasking abilities, fatigue, breathing problems. Brain MRI and diffusion tensor imaging, CT scans were done before putting him under HBOT therapy.
Duration of therapy
The person was subjected to 60 sessions of HBOT therapy where each session lasted for 90 mins with a break at every 20 minutes for 5 minutes. Five sessions every day were conducted and the results were evaluated after the end of 60 sessions. Doctors noticed a significant improvement in brain perfusion and microstructure and most of the symptoms nearly vanished as the person showed significant improvement in memory (especially nonverbal memory), executive functions, attention, ability to process information etc.
Medical experts noticed that the improvement in symptoms correlated with the increased cerebral blood flow in brain regions as measured by perfusion MRI. With respect to physical fitness, he could get back to his pre-covid levels.
After analysing the reports post the study, doctors opined that HBOT can be highly beneficial to people suffering from long covid and the interesting fact is, over 30% of covid infected people are suffering from long covid.