Long Covid occurs in approximately 30% of symptomatic and 5% of asymptomatic cases. It is evidenced by a prolonged increase of inflammatory cytokines.
The most significant symptoms after six months are fatigue, exhaustion after physical activity, and cognitive dysfunction (brain fog). Approximately, 85% of people with Long Covid experience relapses, triggered by exercise, physical or mental activity.
A more complete list of symptoms includes fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, impaired memory and recall, inability to concentrate or focus, anxiety, depression, headache, muscle and joint pain, impaired sense of smell and taste, cough, hair loss, insomnia, wheezing, poor exercise tolerance, post-exertion malaise, altered sleep cycle, irregular heart beat, tachycardia, palpitations, chest pain, drop in blood pressure with rapid heart when going from lying to standing, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and intestinal inflammation.
Brain fog, an essentially universal symptom of Long Covid, appears related to increased activation of microglial cells (immune regulating cells in the brain and spinal cord), high levels of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), and decreased repair of neurons in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory, recall, focus, and mental processing.
Due to so much of the Long Covid process being focused in the central nervous system, many researchers are referring to the Long Covid pattern as NeuroCovid. Look at Long Covid, or NeuroCoivid as the brain on fire – prolonged inflammation due to persistent activation of the immune system.
As microglial cells and their partners, astrocytes, become over-activated, inflammation develops, primarily in the blood brain barrier and limbic system of the brain. The limbic system includes the hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, pituitary, and autonomic nervous system. Inflammation of the limbic system is associated with dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (dysautonomia) and has adverse effects on organs, systems, and functions throughout the body accounting for many (most?) of the symptoms associated with Long Covid. Dysautonomia also impairs the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway control of inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation of the limbic system will typically dysregulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and adversely affect control of electrolytes, glucose, immune and inflammatory responses, and hormones.
Peer-review research and clinical experience indicates that incomplete thymus-mediated immune response to Covid infection along with insufficient adrenal gland responses to control inflammatory cytokines are at the core of the Long Covid/NeuroCovid process/pathophysiology.
Dr. Force has recently had a peer-review journal publish his paper on Covid, Reasoning SARS-CoV-2, and developed a course for understanding Covid that includes protocols for prevention of infection, self-care for uncomplicated infection, healing from Long Covid and from vaccine reaction, and for preventing vaccine reaction. These can be found at drforce.com/resources.