New symptom in persistent COVID: reduced ability to exercise

Brain blur, fatigue, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and mood swings, among other symptoms, have begun to define the meaning of battle. Long COVID. It may seem like the list couldn’t get any longer, but new research shows that people with long-term COVID may also have a reduced ability to exercise, as measured by how much oxygen your body can use and your heart and lungs. How active are you during this time? do exercise.

In a study published Wednesday in JAMA NetworkResearchers analyzed various studies to compare more than 350 people who had recovered from COVID-19 infection with more than 460 people who experienced persistent COVID-related symptoms to test maximum oxygen consumption in during exercise (known as VO2 max).

Participants completed exercises on a treadmill or stationary bicycle, and oxygen levels were monitored along with heart and lung function measurements for three months after initial COVID-19 infection. On average, people who experience persistent COVID symptoms have lower maximum oxygen levels than those who have fully recovered. This is represented by the metabolic equivalence of tasks (METs) that measure energy expended during exercise.

“This decline in oxygen peak rate would correspond to a 40-year-old woman with an expected exercise capacity of 9.5 MET, down to 8.1 MET, the expected exercise capacity approximate for a 50-year-old woman,” says Dr. Matt Durstenfelda research author and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in a press release. This could be like switching from doubles tennis to cart golf, or doing low-impact aerobics instead of swimming laps, he added, noting that the study looked at averages for ability Exercise is still different from person to person.

Impaired function, or the body’s response to inactivity that may occur after COVID infection and particularly in those hospitalized, may explain the change in exercise capacity for those people with long-term COVID. Dysfunctional breathing patterns, an inability to increase heart rate and “abnormal peripheral oxygen extraction,” or difficulty in extracting and using oxygen to function properly, may also be possible. explain the decrease in exercise capacity.

The researchers concluded that there was a “modest but consistent” pattern that people with long-term COVID had a reduced ability to exercise, although there was still “low certainty about the magnitude of the effect,” in part. due to the small sample size.

“There is an urgent need for testing of potential therapies, including rehabilitation studies to address functional impairment, as well as further investigation of respiratory dysfunction, nerves that control automatic bodily functions and are incapable of raising the heart rate adequately during exercise.” Dr. Priscilla Hsuean author of the study and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in press release.


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