I SURVIVED COVID? NOW WHAT?
Luckily, you are not alone.
Many of you out there affected by COVID-19 got through it safe and sound. What many medical experts are wondering is…
Are there any ramifications to your health after having had it? Aside from the complete shunning of wearing fitted clothes with buttons and zippers, can there be any after effects? Let’s talk about two groups: the severe case people and the milder case people.
If you had a severe case of COVID-19 associated with pneumonia, ICU admission, the need for supplemental oxygenation or mechanical ventilation, then you may have some pretty valid concerns about your future health.
COVID-19’s initial assault on the body is pretty extensive. It turns out, SARS-COV2 seems to be a metabolic blood disorder, targeting hemoglobin and preventing your blood from effectively carrying oxygen. This exposes the body to widespread inflammation that can damage the kidneys, liver, heart, lung and brain.
If you needed to spend time in the ICU or on a mechanical ventilator you may be at risk for other health issues related to the ventilator itself or being in an ICU.
- Lung injury, scarring, and residual breathing problems.
- Prolonged inflammation can occur post pneumonia, which can be a set up for future illness risk (four times higher than age-matched controls).
- Post-intensive care syndrome. Patients who spend time in an ICU are prone to developing a wide range of deficits that include cognitive, physical and mental issues after discharge from the ICU. Symptoms include muscle atrophy, muscle weakness, severe fatigue, cognitive deficits like brain fog or memory issues, mood issues like depression and anxiety and an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
- Sleep disorders due to circadian rhythm disruption
- PTSD: Post traumatic stress disorder
This group of patients should DEFINITELY investigate how to work on their health. Ask yourself these questions:
» What health issues do I have? Were they risk factors for developing a severe form of COVID-19? (Risks include diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, obesity, immune-compromise)
» What can I do to make these health issues better beyond taking the prescription medications I have already been given?
» How can I lower my total body inflammation and improve my overall health?
» How does my lifestyle and diet contribute to my level of health or disease?
Recall that most chronic diseases are LIFESTYLE DRIVEN. Yes, that Big Mac does you no favors. And if you AREN’T eating Big Macs and drinking Coca-cola all day long, why ARE you having problems? Could it be the stress levels? Could it be not sleeping? Are you being exposed to toxins in the home? At work? Do you have undiagnosed chronic infections? Do you have nutrient deficiencies that are undetected? What the heck is going on here folks?
What about the majority of people who DIDN’T need a hospital stay, ICU or ventilatory support? Should you guys in this group be concerned?
According to Yale cardiologist Dr. Joseph Brennan “I think there will be long-term sequelae,” referring to a disease’s downstream effects. “I don’t know that for real,” he continued, “but this disease is so overwhelming” that some of the recovered may face ongoing health concerns. Well, that’s a bummer Dr. Brennan.
What could this mean? I believe that if you were infected with COVID-19 but your foundation of health was good, you will weather the storm well. However, some POST-COVID-19 patients may be facing some of the following issues:
- Hormone issues — think PMS, heavy periods, infertility, menopause issues, low libido, acne, hormonal weight gain, you name it, it can happen.
- Stress hormone imbalance — the big 5 symptoms include: weight gain, fatigue, hormone issues, mood issues and intestinal symptoms.
- Moderate to severe ongoing fatigue beyond what you think is reasonable for your level of exertion.
- Moderate to severe joint and muscle aches
- Brain fog, memory issues and forgetfulness
- Increased autoimmune disease risk may go up because inflammation and infection are two drivers of these disorders.
- Immune system imbalance and risk for other infections and chronic disease
Another question that could take years to answer is whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus may lie dormant in the body and spring back later in a different form. This is not unusual with certain viral infections.
- Take Chicken Pox. This is a type of herpes virus that can hang out quietly for decades and often reappears as shingles– a way worse version than the original chicken pox infection that can last longer and is quite painful.
- Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is another virus that may reactivate in the future. Typically EBV causes “mono” or infectious mononucleosis. It can also resurface to cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and may be linked to an increased risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis. So that’s special. No matter what, we don’t want any of that happening. Getting mono as a teenager is cute, getting Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia as an adult, not so cute.
So how to prevent these things from happening? Here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on. IT IS my real hair. Oh, you mean the “prevent these things from happening” thing? IF your immune system is kick-ass, you won’t get these viral reactivations years later. You MUST however control inflammation, clear any underlying chronic infections, and detox your body in order for your immune system to do its job.
What’s a COVID survivor to do? Here is my Post-covid recovery plan, in order of importance. Please follow these steps to the letter.
Step One: First and foremost, you should run, not walk to a professional hair salon to get a proper coloring, haircut, and blow-out.
I can’t overstate the importance of this. I’ve seen what’s been walking around the neighborhood. A veritable rainbow of color: natural and otherworldly. Are these even colors that exist in nature? And PS – hold a mirror up to the back of your head ladies. I was amazed to see what was happening behind the scenes on my own head. Cue music from “Friday The 13th.”
Step Two: Put on some clothes.
I don’t mean the sweatpants doubling as pajamas or your “work out pants” that have yet to experience an actual “work out” beyond spoon to ice-cream to mouth. You must put on something that has a button or zipper. There should be a sense of binding of some kind. Not the let freedom reign apparel you’ve donned for the last four weeks. Perhaps this should have been step one, come to think of it.
Step Three: Lower your inflammation. Address these four main drivers:
- Nix the Inflammatory foods — Avoid processed food (does that food have more than 1 ingredient in it? Put it down, especially if it’s a marshmallow), sugar, alcohol, wheat products, conventional (non organic) meat, chicken, farmed fish, cow’s milk dairy and any food that gives you diarrhea, heartburn or makes you feel yucky. A “wrap” is not a healthy option. Neither is sweetened yogurt. Don’t shoot the messenger.
- Balance Sugar and Insulin — pre-diabetes, diabetes, obesity, hypoglycemia, fatty liver disease, gout — this means you need to work on getting your sugar in order.
- Address Chronic infections and other Chronic sources of inflammation (do you have issues with your sinus, gut, lung, vagina, bladder, or skin in the form of weird rashes) — These may include the following conditions:
- IBS, Reflux, Inflammatory Bowel disease, bloating, alternating diarrhea or constipation
- chronic UTI’s, yeast infections, chronic bacterial vaginosis
- chronic sinus infections, chronic allergies, frequent colds
- interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, and other chronic pain syndromes autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
- anxiety, depression, or any psychiatric disorders. These are signs of brain inflammation
- Halitosis, toe nail fungus, itchy butt of unknown origin, these could be infections. And they are also very humorous to certain people with questionable senses of humor, like my teenage son, unless it’s happening to you.
- Identify toxin exposures and detox — this one is HUGE. Infection PLUS toxins = Chronic disease. This is becoming an ENORMOUS part of recovering and getting healthy. We have a TREMENDOUS environmental burden of pollutants and toxins. The more I learn about functional medicine, the more chronic disease is synonymous with toxic burden.
Step Four: Strengthen your immune system
- FIX YOUR GUT — if you have any intestinal issues that you just assume are normal (they are not), then your immune system doesn’t stand a chance. If you need to unbutton and unzip pants following most meals, there is both a physical problem as well as a complete disregard for others at your table. Let’s start with getting you to poop daily. I mean, that’s not asking a lot. Read Do You Have A-List Poops to get started. Here is where a 4 R gut restoration program comes into play.
- REMOVE (infections and bad food)
- REPLACE (the things you may be missing, like prebiotics to feed good bacteria and digestive enzymes that fall as we get older)
- REINOCULATE (put in the good bacteria, or probiotics)
- RESTORE (fix your intestinal lining)
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP — Sleep is a PRIORITY for strengthening immune health. I believe that was mentioned as important. What’s enough? 8 hours a night minimum. And if you don’t feel rested in the morning, your sleep is not restorative and probably could use a make-over. Read Strategies for Getting Great Sleep for great tips.
- REDUCE STRESS: Stress hormone physiology can absolutely depress your immune system and weaken your immune system PLUS it can lower your immune system. Capishe? Read: Five Ways to Relieve Stress That Feel Doable
- GET AWAY FROM THAT WI-FI — 5G is coming folks and when it does, it won’t be pretty. Studies show that radiation from cell phones and cell phone towers and WI-FI reduce your body’s ability to MAKE white blood cells (the cells that fight infection). Read How You Can Reduce Your Exposure to EMFs and find out why you should avoid WI-FI (aside from the fact that it WILL shrink your testicles for my male readers, accelerate the formation of JOWLS for my female readers and cause halitosis for the rest of you. I’m also pretty sure it is responsible for my bunion’s formidable physique.
Sounds like a lot? Yes it is.
Need some help? Give us a call. Have your people call my people !!!!
Figuring out what your underlying drivers are and getting to the root of your problem is our specialty. And for god sakes, get that hair colored and put on some pants!!!!
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For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website drsadaty.com. Hey Look! You are already here…
Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendations, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!