Long COVID Fatigue: Is It Tied to Mitochondrial Dysfunction?

At least 65 million people around the world have long COVID, a condition where they keep experiencing COVID-19 symptoms for months after the symptoms originally started. The common symptoms of this illness include fatigue, dizziness, mobility issues, and cognitive impairment.

While scientists are still unsure of what causes long COVID, some researchers at the New Amsterdam Medical Centre have discovered that the fatigue experienced by Long COVID patients is connected to mitochondrial dysfunction.

What Is The Impact of Long COVID on Your Life Quality?
Past studies report that fatigue is the most common symptom experienced by Long COVID patients. A 2023 study also discovered that people with long COVID self-report low levels of health-related quality of life, as well as a high level of disability and declined levels of physical and mental health.

Furthermore, research published in April 2023 reported that fatigue caused by long COVID could cause structural brain changes.

Is Fatigue Connected to Lowered Mitochondrial Function?
For this study, the researchers recruited 25 long COVID patients and 21 healthy control participants who were all required to take a cycling test for 15 minutes.

To the researchers, the cycling test worsened symptoms (post-exertional malaise) in the long COVID patients. This made the fatigue worse for up to 7 days. Scientists also discovered various abnormalities in the muscle tissue of participants with long COV ID, including mitochondrial functioning in the muscle.

The scientists also concluded that the cause of the fatigue is biological and that the findings of the research can help them develop effective treatments for long COVID patients.

Can Tailored Exercise Help With Long COVID?
The researchers said they acknowledge complaints of long COVID patients, and they intend to carefully determine if tailored exercises can be effective. They also said that their gained knowledge could be used to support patients’ symptoms, discover biomarkers as a diagnostic tool, and help find treatment options.

Is Long COVID Difficult To Treat?
Some researchers believe that the topic of long COVID treatment is controversial because it remains difficult to diagnose, poorly defined, and challenging to read. They also said the lack of a definitive diagnostic test and its variable presentation continues to make its existence skeptical despite a scientific agreement that it does exist.

This means physicians are limited to reassuring their patients until solid treatment options are available.

Despite sufficient information for treating long COVID, identifying fatigue is a step in the right medical direction. You should consult your doctor if you experience fatigue or any other symptoms of this treatment to help you get the required medical attention.