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Sure Signs You Have Post-COVID Syndrome

Long COVID is a serious health crisis.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Post-COVID Syndrome—or long COVID—is the next public health crisis, virus experts warn. "Post-COVID-19 condition is an urgent problem with a mounting human toll," says Aranka Ballering, PhD candidate at the University of Groningen, Netherlands. "Understanding the core symptoms and the prevalence of post-covid-19 in the general population represents a major step forward for our ability to design studies that can ultimately inform successful healthcare responses to the long term symptoms of COVID-19." Here are five sure signs you have post-COVID syndrome, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Lung Damage

man using asthma machine at home.

A number of people are reporting long-term lung issues after getting infected with COVID-19. "As we continue to learn about COVID-19, we're understanding more regarding how it affects the lungs during acute illness and afterward," says lung disease expert Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, MHS. "And this is especially true with the virus' ongoing variants, as well. As we have learned more about SARS-CoV-2 and resulting COVID-19, we have discovered that in severe COVID-19, a significant pro-inflammatory condition can result in several critical diseases, complications and syndromes."


Heart Issues

woman holding heart

Some COVID-19 "long-haulers" are experiencing ongoing heart problems, including shortness of breath and chest pain. "Type 2 heart attacks are more common with COVID-19," says cardiologist Wendy Post, MD. "This heart attack can be caused by increased stress on the heart, such as a fast heartbeat, low blood oxygen levels or anemia, because the heart muscle isn't getting enough oxygen delivered in the blood in order to do this extra work. We have seen this in people with acute coronavirus disease, but it is less common in those who have survived the illness."


Sleep Issues


Sleep issues such as insomnia could be a sign of post-COVID syndrome. "Sleep disorders are one of the most common symptoms that patients who suffer from post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection are having these days," says Cinthya Pena, MD, sleep specialist for Cleveland Clinic. "So mainly what we are finding is that they complain from insomnia, fatigue, also brain fog, some of them present sometimes circadian rhythm disorders."


Sexual Dysfunction

couple in live holding hads while lying in bed together

Sexual dysfunction has been reported as a sign of post-COVID syndrome. "I have seen young, healthy men, as well as older men with other medical problems, develop erectile dysfunction after contracting COVID-19," says urologist Amarnath Rambhatla, MD. "But men who are older might be at an increased risk for developing erectile dysfunction due to underlying medical problems. There are a few other reasons why older men could be at an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction after COVID-19: Testosterone levels decrease as we age, and we know that testosterone is needed for normal erectile function. When you're older, you are also more likely to experience an increased inflammatory response to COVID-19. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems—all of these are underlying risk factors for developing more severe COVID-19, and older men are more likely to have these issues."


Hair Loss

young man in white t-shirt and jeans looking in mirror at thinning hair
Shutterstock / Maridav

Unexplained hair loss could be a sign of long COVID. "It's extremely distressing, and it certainly might catch people by surprise," says Jonathan Shammash, MD, an internist at Hackensack University Medical Center. "These patients may have thought they were recovered and done. But hair loss might also be associated with other symptoms and signs of post-COVID syndrome."


How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan