As we learn to live with Sars CoV2, mitigating long-term health risks unique to this virus is critical. Post-COVID risks and even death can impact ANYONE after even mild COVID. The virus hits the brain, nervous system, vascular system, and immune system in sometimes lasting or even permanent ways.
COVID aftermath stems from chronic inflammation, autoimmune triggering, vascular inflammation, blood clot risk, and/or direct damage to brain, lung, or heart tissue.
COVID vaccines involve some risk of immune triggering or inflammation and very rare clotting risk. That said, natural COVID infection risks are many-fold higher than any risks from vaccination. Vaccination is the most effective strategy for preventing hospitalization, long-term complications, and death from COVID.
Biggest Long-Term Risks after COVID:
- Brain Atrophy (shrinkage) – resulting in chronic fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, depression/anxiety, sleep disorders, loss of smell/taste/hearing, and possible risk for earlier onset of dementia.
- Cardiovascular Events and Death – Heart attack risk is 12x higher than baseline in the weeks after COVID and 68% elevated a year after even mild COVID. Strokes occur 17x more often soon after COVID, and risks remain high for up to a year. Heart failure is 21x more frequent; risk for myocarditis, pericarditis, and Atrial fibrillation is also significantly elevated.
- Clotting Risk – DVT risk is 27x higher in the early weeks after COVID and remains nearly double a year later. Clot risk includes deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism (potentially lethal clots in the lungs), and clots in the brain or in the placenta.
- All-Cause Mortality – The risk of dying is 10-fold higher in the weeks after COVID.
Risk Factors for COVID-related Complications:
- Men – higher risk of severe COVID/post-COVID death
- Women- a higher risk of long-COVID autoimmune, inflammatory, and neurologic complications
- Prior mood disorder
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Any tobacco use
- Oral hormone therapy –escalates clot risk
- Standard American diet – higher intake of processed foods and animal proteins linked to higher COVID mortality
- History of premature birth – associated with increased COVID severity
- Immune compromise or Autoimmune disorders
- Cardiovascular risk factors or kidney disease
- Blood sugar issues – pre-diabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome
Strategies to Mitigate COVID and Post-COVID Risk:There are steps we can take to help reduce the risk of complications, including daily habits you can start today. Our highest recommendations to prevent complications include:
- Vaccination against COVID/influenza, especially if high risk
- Basic infection prevention: hand-washing, avoiding crowds, mask in high-risk situations
- Eat a clean, very plant-based diet
- Stay well-hydrated
- Daily exercise
- Indulge in healthy sleep
- Stay socially engaged
- If high-risk, follow up with your provider soon after COVID to rule out modifiable risks
At Lifescape, our team of health & wellness experts partner with you to inspire and empower health transformation, by taking the time needed to identify the root cause of symptoms and focusing on the totality of you, including care for COVID-related symptoms and complications. Request a Meet & Greet today.