Causes of Long COVID
Since the spring of 2020, approximately 200 million Americans have been affected by COVID-19. For the 28 percent of patients that had or have long COVID, the initial infection was just the beginning of an extended and confusing journey of illness. A group of functional medicine doctors have identified five interconnected physiological drivers of long COVID: tissue damage in one or more organs; persistence of the COVID virus; chronic inflammation; an imbalanced gut microbiome; and a lack of energy production from mitochondria in the body’s cells.
Preexisting conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and a history of chronic fatigue or other post-viral syndromes, also contribute to the risk of this lingering condition. While there are no definitive tests for long COVID, a deeper understanding of its drivers and risk factors can help healthcare professionals better manage and treat this complex syndrome.