Since the novel coronavirus emerged, what’s increasingly struck me are the eerie similarities between COVID-19 and sarcoidosis. The deeper we’ve gotten into this pandemic, the more I wonder if it might provide new clues for treating the sarcoidosis population.
Much like our illness, COVID-19 can come and go without some folks ever knowing it’s been there. In others, its presence can be brief, lingering, or even fatal. Sound familiar?
COVID-19 caught my attention even before it hit U.S. shores, because it initially attacks the lungs. That’s exactly where sarcoidosis chooses to set up shop in about 90% of us, including myself.
Then cardiovascular complications emerged, which resulted in deaths and heart damage that may be more widespread than reported, the American Heart Association said.
That mirrors the unsettling and tragic trend we’ve seen with cardiac sarcoidosis, which is going undiagnosed in many cases, causing fatalities, and is not as rare as once believed.
And then there are what have become known as the “long-haulers,” or people who recover but continue feeling poorly. Many of those long-term effects of COVID-19 could serve as a checklist of our own.
Shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, brain fog, and joint and muscle pain are all common complaints of COVID-19 long haulers. Some of them, like many of us, also now battle small fiber neuropathy, including postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.
As many as 8.4 million of the more than 28 million Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 are long-haulers, according to a report by NBC News. I found two encouraging bits of news in the article.
For starters, more than 80 “post-COVID” clinics across the country are actively trying to help patients, NBC discovered. Secondly, Congress has approved $1.15 billion to study the problem.
Just consider that fewer than 200,000 Americans have sarcoidosis. That makes it a rare disease, by U.S. standards. Now a slew of symptoms that many of us struggle with are being brought before doctors by several million people. And the National Institutes of Health has undertaken a four-year, billion-dollar effort to find out why the symptoms are sticking around.
I hope that brings additional insight and potential treatments for our community. But even if it doesn’t, at least more doctors are listening and trying to find solutions to problems that we have been voicing for so many years.
Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear.
- Daily helpings: People have been able to get a free meal at Perfectly Frank, no questions asked, since the pandemic began, USA Today reported. Customers of the Virginia restaurant prepay for meals and leave receipts on a board for anyone in need to use once a day. One posted message states, “If you want more kindness in the world, put it there.”
- Blossoming view: You don’t have to mill around with 1.5 million others to see the U.S. capital’s Yoshino cherry trees in bloom this year, Thrillist reports. Much of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs through April 11 in Washington, D.C., will be online. A 24/7, real-time bloom cam is coming soon. So, don’t miss peak bloom, which is expected April 2-5!
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.
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