More people are reporting symptoms that linger for months after infection with COVID-19. Sometimes called “Long Haulers,” these people experience many symptoms such as:
- Ongoing, sometimes debilitating, fatigue
- Body aches
- Joint pain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste and smell — even if this didn’t occur during the height of illness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Brain fog (Brain fog is among the most confusing symptoms for long haulers. Patients report being unusually forgetful, confused or unable to concentrate even enough to watch TV).
Some doctors have noticed similarities between these symptoms and a rare condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).
POTS is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. People with POTS experience a sudden drop of blood pressure when they stand up because their blood vessels don’t respond quickly enough to return blood to the heart and brain.
With POTS, the heart races and heart rate can double or triple upon standing up. Other symptoms of POTS include dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, and brain fog. People can become sensitive to lights or sound or temperature. They can even develop digestive problems.
POTS is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system. People with POTS experience a sudden drop of blood pressure when they stand up because their blood vessels don’t respond quickly enough to return blood to the heart and brain”.
In many ways, POTS is similar to chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. The cause is unknown, the symptoms are vague, and there is no definite cure.
✨ But there is a ray of light in the darkness ✨
Functional medicine offers hope for medical mysteries like POTS. One of the main reasons is that a functional approach takes a holistic look at how all of the body systems interact. In POTS, there are interactions between the nervous system, immune system, and more.
Whereas the conventional approach to treating disease gives a medication to cover up a symptom, a functional approach looks under the hood for the root cause. We begin to balance the body systems from the inside out rather than just taping on a band-aid.
We still know so little about how COVID-19 affects the body in the long run. We do, however, know a lot about the long-term effects of some other infections (like EBV and Lyme disease). It’s in these bizarre and unusual situations that functional medicine has always shined.
Practicing medicine is a continuous process of learning and connecting what we already know with new situations. We are here to support all patients—but especially those who are not getting the results they want and deserve elsewhere. Please reach out to our office if you have any questions about how we can help.