Woman with long Covid on its effects saying she only functions at 30 per cent St Vincents Sydney

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Woman with long Covid on its effects saying she only functions at 30 per cent St Vincents Sydney

A mother who was once an avid runner and fitness enthusiast has detailed the devastating physical effects of her ongoing battle with long Covid.Natali

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A mother who was once an avid runner and fitness enthusiast has detailed the devastating physical effects of her ongoing battle with long Covid.

Natalie Lukas, 42, has been in a four-month battle with long Covid and has undergone a three-month treatment program at Sydney‘s St Vincent’s Hospital.

Despite taking a course of anti-inflammatory medication, Ms Lukas says she is still only functioning at about 30 per cent of what she was before contracting the condition.

‘I’m a shadow of my normal self. Everyone who knows me [knows] I’m very physically active, mum of three kids,’ she told the ABC.

Natalie Lukas (pictured), 42, said she is 'a shadow of my former self' after a four-month battle with long Covid

Natalie Lukas (pictured), 42, said she is 'a shadow of my former self' after a four-month battle with long Covid

Natalie Lukas (pictured), 42, said she is ‘a shadow of my former self’ after a four-month battle with long Covid

Long Covid is defined as when Covid-19 symptoms continue for longer than 12 weeks in people previously infected with the virus.

Some studies have shown as many as a third of all those infected with Covid suffer long-term symptoms, including brain fog, anxiety, fatigue and abnormal breathing.

Ms Lukas said she still has the symptoms of shortness of breath after exertion and that when she talks too much, she is out of breath.

She said she continues to struggle when having her lungs tested.

‘That would have been a walk in the park for me, I feel like a very unfit version of myself,’ she said. 

St Vincent’s associate professor Dr Anthony Byrne said long Covid remains a serious issue, particularly as the virus continues to mutate.

He says hospitals need more funding to deal with the number of potential individuals needing treatment due to long Covid.

‘This condition has significant implications for the public health and the Australian health system because of the sheer number of potential patients… This virus is not going anywhere fast,’ said Dr Byrne.

St Vincent's associate professor Dr Anthony Byrne (pictured) said long Covid remains a serious issue especially since the virus isn't going anywhere fast

St Vincent's associate professor Dr Anthony Byrne (pictured) said long Covid remains a serious issue especially since the virus isn't going anywhere fast

St Vincent’s associate professor Dr Anthony Byrne (pictured) said long Covid remains a serious issue especially since the virus isn’t going anywhere fast

Dr Byrne told Daily Mail Australia the condition is ‘debilitating’ for the potential third of those infected with Covid who then go on to experience ‘long-hauler’ symptoms.

He said even the young and healthy aren’t being spared by the ‘highly variable and quite debilitating’ condition.

‘I saw a high functioning, young individual, he was in a high-flying job, who got Covid in December and he hasn’t been able to work since,’ he said.

That patient, Dr Byrne said, isn’t able to work because he suffers sleep issues, crippling fatigue and his brain ‘doesn’t work properly’.

It has left him in a state where he is unable to complete complex tasks and, some days, even find words.

Sufferers of the conditions have reported experiencing symptoms ranging from extreme tiredness, chest pain, shortness of breath, ‘brain fog’, memory loss and changes to taste and smell, among other ailments.

Long Covid is defined as suffering ongoing symptoms for longer than 12 weeks. Symptoms can range from shortness of breath to mental debilitation

Long Covid is defined as suffering ongoing symptoms for longer than 12 weeks. Symptoms can range from shortness of breath to mental debilitation

Long Covid is defined as suffering ongoing symptoms for longer than 12 weeks. Symptoms can range from shortness of breath to mental debilitation

Vaccination status, complex health conditions and old age are all risk factors for developing long Covid, while displaying a large number of symptoms when infected could also signal a likelihood of developing the condition, Dr Byrne said.

Even simply being a woman is a risk factor for developing long Covid.

‘Interestingly, being male is a risk factor for being in hospital, but being female is a risk factor for getting long Covid,’ Dr Byrne said.

Dr Byrne has seen a correlation between the number of symptoms shown when someone has Covid, and the likelihood the symptoms will progress to a long Covid diagnosis.

‘The more symptoms you show when you have a diagnosis acutely, the more likely you are to go on to have long Covid,’ he said.

‘So if you just have the sniffles, that’s probably fine, but if you’ve got a headache, shortness of breath, fever… count them up. If there’s more than five, there’s an increased risk of long Covid.’

LONG COVID – THE SYMPTOMS YOU SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR 

Long term symptoms include: 

– Chronic tiredness 

– Breathlessness 

– Raised heart rate 

– Delusions 

– Strokes 

– Insomnia 

– Loss of taste/smell 

– Kidney disease 

– Mobility issues 

– Headaches 

– Muscle pains 

– Fevers 

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