Long Covid definitionAlthough we hear a lot about it now, Long Covid remains a condition that has yet to be defined. Mostly, for the time being, Long Covid is referred people who recovered from acute Sars-Cov-2 infection but experience persistent symptoms for more than 4 weeks after disease onset. Not all patients suffer from them (estimates range from 32.6% to 87.4%), but the frequency seems greater the more severe the acute illness was. Long Covid can occur in the:
- lungs, with dyspnea (air hunger), coughing, and hypoxemia;
- circulatory system, with clot formation that can cause pulmonary embolisms and stroke; heart, from palpitations and chest pain to myocarditis and inflammation;
- brain, from migraines to neuropsychiatric symptoms (depression, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder), to the so-called brain fog (difficulty in concentrating, memory and language problems, etc);
- kidneys, with renal failure
- nose and mouth, with loss of smell and taste
- hair loss
- joints and muscles, with arthralgia and myalgia
- tiredness (fatigue);
- gastrointestinal system, with diarrheal, acid reflux, loss of appetite, nausea.
Although we hear a lot about it now, Long Covid remains an undefined condition.
Premature aging of the immune systemAs New Scientist reports, during the virtual conference of the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium and the British Society for Immunology, Niharika Duggal of the University of Birmingham (UK) showed data on 46 patients aged 30 to 68 years who had been hospitalized for moderate and severe forms of Covid-19. Three months after discharge, the immune system of these people had taken on particular characteristics, typical of the over 60s: a decrease in “naive” immune system cells (immature cells, i.e., cells that have not yet been exposed to an antigen), compared with an accumulation of memory B and T lymphocytesLymphocytes are the cells that make up the effective portion of the adaptive immune system; they are able to generate and modify antibodies that will recognize antigens in the future. They are present in primary lymphoid organs, secondary lymphoid organs, peripheral blood and lymph (where they are currently named). and an excess of senescent T lymphocytesLymphocytes are the cells that make up the effective portion of the adaptive immune system; they are able to generate and modify antibodies that will recognize antigens in the future. They are present in primary lymphoid organs, secondary lymphoid organs, peripheral blood and lymph (where they are currently named).. A physiological change after the age of 60 years, called immune-senescence, which, however, can only raise questions if it occurs in young people who survived Covid-19. Il sistema immunitario delle persone ricoverate per Covid-19 appare “invecchiato”
the immune system of young survivors of Covid-19 appears to have aged prematurely, a fact that could contribute to the onset of Long Covids
Thanks to lifestyle interventions such as exercise and diet, aging of the immune system may not be irreversible