Post- COVID diagnosis could affect nervous system long-term, research shows

DAYTON, Ohio — Researchers are starting to learn more about the long-term effects that COVID-19 can have on people.

Some patients with COVID-19 are later diagnosed with a debilitating condition called POTS.

News Center 7′s Kayla Courvell spoke with an expert about what the coronavirus is doing to the body.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS is a form of Dysautonomia, which affects the autonomic nervous system.

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Lauren Stiles, President of Dysautonomia International, said, “What we need people to realize is it’s not just surviving COVID, you do not want to be living with one of these long-term chronic illnesses.”

The Autonomic Nervous Systems is the functioning of your body that you don’t think about, like heart rate, digestive system, breathing and even dilation of the eyes.

“Some COVID patients are developing long-term systems, some patients are calling it long haul COVID,” says Stiles.

Stiles said right now, about 10 to 30 percent of COVID patients are now suffering from autonomic issues.

“Throughout history, about half of POTS patients developed POTS after an infection,” She said.

And, while someone may test negative for COVID, and be considered recovered, these long-term effects may never go away.

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Stiles said, “They can be very light headed when they stand up, they can have an excessive fast heart rate, they can faint, they have a lot of symptoms because your autonomic nervous system controls your whole body, so their GI tract may not have normal mobility, they may have bladder problems, sweating problems, profound fatigue.”

She said researchers are finding, even the mildest of COVID-19 cases, are at risk of these long-term effects.

“If you have a very robust immune system initially and you found off the infection quickly, that might even be a risk factor developing long-term complications,” Stiles said.

Experts say not everyone with long-term COVID symptoms are gong to be diagnosed with POTS, but if still showing symptoms, like fatique, muscle pain, brain fog and shortness of breath a month after you’ve recovered from COVID, Stiles said you should go see a doctor to rule out any long-term effects.

Kayla Courvell

I was born and raised in a small town just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and decided as a child I was going to be a news reporter.