Across the world, even two years beyond the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a subset of COVID patients who have persistent symptoms lasting over the course of many months. And as these cases are still being studied and evaluated by scientists, pathologists, and medical professionals, little is known as to why certain individuals are unable to resolve their symptoms.
Long-haul COVID or Post-acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) is believed to affect 1 in 8 COVID-19 patients. And some statistics even show between 10 to 30 percent of people who’ve contracted COVID-19 experience these long-term effects. But through the holistic approach of functional medicine, you may have help alleviating long-haul symptoms.
Here, we’ll explore the power of functional medicine and how it can help you to manage Long-Haul COVID or PASC.
Are You Experiencing Long-Haul COVID symptoms? Contact the experts at Newbridge Health & Wellness today to explore how functional medicine can help.
What is Long-Haul COVID?
Though labels for Long-haul COVID vary, according to John Hopkins Medicine, the World Health Organization (WHO) has entered a definition of this phenomenon stating that the post-COVID condition is identifiable by “Coronavirus symptoms that persist or return 3 months after a person becomes ill from infection with SARS Cov-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The primary symptoms associated with long-haul COVID include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic fatigue
- Cognitive issues
Though symptoms vary between individuals with PASC, if you’re experiencing these health issues, they can significantly impact your daily life. The good news is that functional medicine can help.
Complications From Long-Haul COVID
On average, if you contract COVID-19, symptoms typically last up to two weeks though there are degrees of variance between each patient regarding how long symptoms persist. However, if you’re experiencing long-haul COVID, symptoms have likely persisted for several weeks if not for several months. And this can cause significant health complications to arise.
Most of the complications from long-haul COVID or PASC include cognitive issues. In fact, statistics have shown that 7 out of 10 patients experience persistent cognitive issues, and a study at University College London (UCL) has identified 200 symptoms affecting up to 10 organ systems.
Symptoms associated with PASC are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Persistent coughing
- Loss or change in sense of taste and smell
- Sore throat
- Lack of appetite
- Joint pain
- Low vision
- Red eyes
- Skin lesions
- Sjögren’s Syndrome
In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, data from larger studies has shown that even after 2 years, some people who’ve had a COVID-19 infection were at a higher risk for a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders including the following:
- Cognitive deficits
- Mood disorders
- Neuromuscular issues
Though the data for long-haul COVID is still being studied and evaluated, if you have this condition, the principles of functional medicine may be able to provide help for alleviating pain or discomfort associated with some long-haul COVID symptoms.
How Can Functional Medicine Help With Managing Long-Haul COVID Symptoms?
If you’re a “long-hauler,” you’ve likely experienced persistent symptoms even after fever and initial onset symptoms have subsided. And even though physical symptoms may be evident, you may also be experiencing neurological issues and mood disturbances as well. But the functional medicine approach may be able to provide solutions for symptom management.
What is Functional Medicine?
Not all medical approaches are the same. And the Functional Medicine model is based on a patient-centered and science-based approach that empowers you and your practitioner to work together to solve health-related issues and develop a plan of therapy or treatment.
Through the functional medicine approach, practitioners are equipped to address the underlying causes of disease or illness, and promote optimal wellness. And with functional medicine as a guide, a practitioner aims to identify the root cause(s) of your health issues and develop protocols for alleviating symptoms.
We’re all unique. And your health journey is equally unique. This is why an individualized and holistic approach to healing is necessary for greater healing to occur.
The Functional Medicine Approach to Long-Haul COVID
Functional medicine practitioners understand that underlying causes are always a factor when attempting to diagnose and help a patient with alleviating symptoms. And as mentioned, data from studies of long-haulers is still being reviewed and understood throughout the medical community. But functional medicine can offer support in a variety of ways.
Vitamin D may be a vital asset to the mitigation of symptoms if you’re suffering from long-haul COVID. This can be used in order to aid with inflammatory problems, as well as to stimulate antimicrobial processes for infection in the respiratory tract.
In addition, Vitamin D may also increase anti-pathogen peptides and can work to mitigate further infection. Evidence also suggests vitamin D supplements may be able to help prevent upper respiratory infections. As such, a functional medicine practitioner may recommend that you take Vitamin D supplements to help alleviate symptoms, though a full diagnosis with a practitioner is needed before any regimen of care can begin.
Vitamin A is a nutrient that offers help with maintaining vision along with promoting growth and development. In addition, Vitamin A also helps to regulate mucus within the body and works as an anti-inflammatory while also helping to enhance immune system function.
Additionally, Vitamin A supplements have been seen to aid in the treatment of a variety of infectious diseases. And this micronutrient could be used by a functional medicine practitioner for the reduction of symptom duration if you have long-haul COVID, though a full diagnosis is necessary before any therapeutic intervention can begin. However, please note that it is not recommended to add vitamin A without testing and monitoring by a knowledgeable nutrition-trained practitioner.
It’s widely known within the medical community that Vitamin C can contribute to immune defense by supporting a variety of cellular functions. And if you have long-haul COVID, this vitamin may be used as part of a therapeutic regimen.
In many studies, Vitamin C supplements have been used in the treatment and prevention of respiratory and other systemic infections. In fact, Vitamin C has also been used in many hospital settings, including ICUs, to aid in the treatment of COVID-19 infections.
Preparing for the Long-Haul
It’s no secret that COVID-19 turned the world upside down for many people whether having to adjust to staying at home or navigating life amid COVID infections. And we’re all still dealing with the repercussions of the global pandemic that began early in 2020. But if you’ve been experiencing persistent symptoms for several weeks or months after initially contracting COVID-19, reaching out to a functional medicine practitioner may be a productive solution if you wish to have help in alleviating symptoms related to long-haul COVID.
The effects of COVID on the body and brain are still being studied and debated in every corner of the medical community. But as functional medicine practitioners look to every cause and treat you holistically, your chances of attaining enhanced wellness and getting relief for your long-haul symptoms can be increased through this approach.
Functional medicine doesn’t just focus on your symptoms. This approach works to support you – the whole patient. And if you’re dealing with long-haul symptoms, then functional medicine may prove to be an attractive way to help alleviate your symptoms.
Need help with Long-Haul COVID symptoms? Contact the functional medicine experts at Newbridge Health & Wellness today to explore possible solutions.