HYPOCHONDRIAC LÀ GÌ

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Margot Gage Witvliet does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive sầu funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, & has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Margot Gage Witvliet was hospitalized with COVID-19 in March. More than four months later, she has yet lớn recover. Courtesy of Margot Gage Witvliet, Author provided

Imagine being young & healthy, a nonsmoker with no preexisting health conditions, & then waking up one morning feeling like you were being suffocated by an unseen force. Back in March, this was my reality.

I had just returned from Europe, and roughly 10 days later started having flu-lượt thích symptoms. I became weak overnight & had trouble breathing. It felt lượt thích jogging in the Rocky Mountains without being in condition, only I wasn’t moving. I went to the hospital, where I was tested for COVID-19.

I was one of the first people in Texas given a non-FDA-approved kiểm tra. My results came baông chồng negative. As a social epidemiologist who deals with big data, I was certain it was a false negative.

More than four months later, the symptoms have not gone away. My heart still races even though I am resting. I cannot stay in the sun for long periods; it zaps all of my energy. I have sầu gastrointestinal problems, ringing in the ears & chest pain.


I’m what’s known as a long-hauler – part of a growing group of people who have sầu COVID-19 và have sầu never fully recovered. Fatigue is one of the most common persistent symptoms, but there are many others, including the cognitive sầu effects people often describe as brain fog. As more patients face these persistent symptoms, employers will have sầu khổng lồ find ways to work with them. It’s too soon to say we’re disabled, but it’s also too soon to know how long the damage will last.

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The frustration of not knowing

What made matters worse in the beginning was that my doctors were not certain I had COVID-19. My demo was negative & I had no fever, so my symptoms did not fit into early descriptions of the disease. Instead, I was diagnosed with a respiratory illness, prescribed the Z-paông xã antibotic và a low dosage of an anti-inflammatory medication normally used for arthritis patients.

A Yale study released in May shows COVID-19 deaths in America vị not reflect the pandemic’s true mortality rate. If I had died at home, my death would not have sầu been counted as COVID-19.


Margot Gage Witvliet & her daughters started a đoạn phim blog before she fell ill. They ended up documenting her COVID-19 experience.

By the end of March, I was on the road to lớn recovery. Then I had a seizure. In the ER, the doctor said I had COVID-19 & that I was lucky – tests showed my organs did not have lasting damage. After the seizure, I lay in my bedroom for weeks with the curtains drawn, because light & sound had started to lớn hurt.

The search for answers

I did not underst& why I was not recovering. I began searching for answers online. I found a support group for people struggling with COVID-19 long-term. They called themselves long-haulers.

COVID-19 tư vấn groups show that there are many people not considered siông xã enough to lớn be hospitalized – yet they are experiencing symptoms worse than the flu. It is possible COVID-19 is neurotoxic & is one of the first illnesses capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. This might explain why many people lượt thích me have sầu neurological problems. Many long-haulers are experiencing post-viral symptoms similar khổng lồ those caused by mononucleosis & myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

A common frustration is that some medical doctors dismiss their complaints as psychological.

One woman in the support group wrote: “140 days later, so many are hard khổng lồ breathe, & no doctors will take me seriously as I was diagnosed with a negative sầu swab và negative sầu antibodies.”

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Paul Garner was the first epidemiologist khổng lồ publicly nói qua his COVID status. He described his 7-week fight with the coronavirut in a blog post for the British medical journal The BMJ. In July, I was interviewed by ABC. That month, an Indiana University researcher working with an online community of long-haulers released a report identifying over 100 symptoms, & the CDC expanded its các mục of characteristics that put people at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. On July 31, the CDC also acknowledged that young people with no prior medical issues can experience long-term symptoms.

It’s still unclear why COVID-19 impacts some people more severely than others. Emerging evidence suggests blood type might play a role. However, data are mixed.

A Dutch study found immune cells TLR7 – Toll-like receptor 7 located on the X chromosome – which is needed khổng lồ detect the virus is not operating properly in some patients. This allows COVID-19 to move sầu unchecked by the immune system. Men bởi vì not have sầu an extra X chromosome to lớn rely on, suggesting that men, rather than women, may experience more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Many COVID-19 survivors report having no antibodies for SARS-CoV-2. Antibody tests have sầu a low accuracy rate, and data from Sweden suggest T-cell responses might be more important for immunity. Emerging evidence found CD4 và CD8 memory T-cell response in some people recovered from COVID-19, regardless of whether antibodies were present. A La Jolla Institute for Immunity study identified SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T-cell responses in some people who were not exposed lớn COVID-19, which might explain why some people get sicker than others. The complete role of T-cell response is unknown, but recent data are promising.

Looking ahead in an economy of long-haulers

Like many long-haulers, my goal is lớn resume a normal life.

I still grhãng apple with a host of post-viral issues, including extreme fatigue, brain fog and headaches. I spover the majority of my day resting.

A big challenge long-haulers face may be sustaining employment. Ultimately, it is too early to classify long-haulers as having a disability. Anthony Fauci reported that “it will take months to lớn a year or more to lớn know whether lingering COVID-19 symptoms in young people could be chronic illnesses.”

Economics is a big driver of health, và the link between employment & health care in America further exacerbates the need to maintain employment khổng lồ protect health. Employers need khổng lồ be ready lớn make accommodations lớn keep long-haulers working. The găng tay of being siông xã long-term, combined with the possibility of job loss, can also contribute to lớn mental health issues.

To effectively fight COVID-19 & underst& the risks, these patients with continuing symptoms must be studied. Online support groups, meanwhile, are helping long-haulers feel understood.