Research is emerging to confirm that symptoms of ME / CFS and Long-COVID are similar.
Both are systemic illnesses that involve several organs and body systems. Long-COVID is only triggered by infections with SARS-CoV-2 however ME / CFS can be triggered by a dysfunctional response to one or more agents. However both present with similar symptoms.
Key similarities in symptom presentation include persistent fatigue, cognitive issues (Impaired information processing speed and impaired attention), headaches, insomnia, pain, post exertional malaise (PEM), orthostatic intolerance and gastrointestinal issues which are caused by dysregulation of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Of note is reduced ability to balance the parasympathetic and sympathetic arms of the autonomic nervous system, with the body often being “stuck” in the sympathetic system (Fight/flight state). Another key similarity is the inability to efficiently generate energy from usual sources within the body.
In this article symptoms of both Long-COVID and ME / CFS are likened to survival behaviours in the animal kingdom such as hibernation and lethargy, where bodily responses occur to protect and conserve energy, to facilitate the body to be able to rest, heal and recover.
The authors of the article, Komaroff & Lipkin, suggest that due to the similarity in presentation of both ME / CFS and Long-COVID, research into each disorder will have reciprocal benefit, with such research having the potential to create new strategies to reduce the impact of ME / CFS and Long-COVID. In the USA over $1 billion has been allocated to support the study of underlying biology of various post-COVID conditions.
We look forward to seeing this research unfold as it could provide huge benefit to the CCI Support community here in NZ also.
If you’re interested in reading the full article, you can find it here.