Suara.com – A small study in the United States found that people with persistent symptoms of Covid-19, or long Covid, had nearly 60 percent of nerve damage that may be caused by a faulty immune response. So patients with such conditions require new treatments.
The study involved in-depth examination of 17 people with long Covid, a condition that appeared three months after infection with Covid-19. Their body condition was studied for at least two months.
“I think what’s happening here is that the nerves that control things like breathing, blood vessels, and digestion, are in some cases damaged in long Covid patients,” said lead researcher and neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander.
The study was published in the journal Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation.
15 Symptoms of Long Covid to Watch Out for, Check Yourself If You Have Symptoms for More than 4 Weeks!
As many as 30 percent of people who test positive for COVID-19 are believed to develop a prolonged long Covid-19, a condition with symptoms ranging from fatigue, fast heart rate, shortness of breath, cognitive difficulties, chronic pain, sensory abnormalities, and muscle weakness.
Oaklander and colleagues focused on patients with consistent symptoms and a type of nerve damage known as peripheral neuropathy. Only one had a mild case of Covid-19 and had no nerve damage prior to infection.
After ruling out other possible explanations for the patient’s complaints, the researchers ran a series of tests to identify whether nerves were involved.
“We see with every major objective diagnostic test. Most have small fiber neuropathy, damage to the small nerve fibers that detect sensation and regulate involuntary body functions such as the cardiovascular and respiratory systems,” explains Oaklander, quoted by Channel News Asia.
The findings are similar to a study by Dr Rayaz Malik of Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar in July. They found an association between nerve fiber damage in the cornea and the diagnosis of long Covid.
Impact of Vaccines on Long Covid-19: Can Reduce Time and Severity of Symptoms
In the current study, 11 of 17 patients were treated with steroids or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), the standard treatment for patients with small nerve fiber damage caused by an immune response. Some improved although none recovered.