COVID’s legacy for young adults: Metabolic disorders

When we talk about who the people are who are at greatest risk from COVID-19, we usually go right to the immunocompromised, and right behind them, people over 65.

According to the CDC, older adults are at the highest risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. More than 81 percent of COVID-19 deaths occur in people over age 65.

In addition, the number of deaths among people over age 65 is 97 times higher than the number of deaths among people ages 18-29 years.

But what if it’s our future older adults that are at risk?

New research shows that a generation of young people who’ve had “mild” COVID may be in danger of dying of other health issues as they become “older adults.”

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Concerning long-term COVID effects for young people

Here’s the question that no one’s been asking:

Does long COVID in previously healthy young adults affect their health long-term?

This group is the “next generation.” They represent the backbone of our workforce and will for decades to come. Yet no one has examined the long-term effects of COVID infections on this group.

Until now, that is.

Dr. Patricia Schlagenhauf, Professor at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute of the University of Zurich, has conducted a study that examined the possible repercussions of long COVID in a group of Swiss military personnel.

Her results point to a real problem for the next generation…

Potential cardiovascular complications

Between May and November of 2021, Prof. Schlagenhauf and her research team examined a group of young adults with a median age of 21 who had a confirmed case of COVID-19 more than 180 days prior to the start of the study, and who were considered to be fully recovered.

Prior to the 180-day mark, some had experienced long COVID symptoms that you’re probably familiar with: fatigue, loss of sense of taste and/or smell, as well as fertility issues in males. These symptoms, too, had resolved themselves by the start of the study.

Unlike other studies on the long-term repercussions of COVID, this one evaluated the functioning of cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological and ophthalmological systems.

These evaluations presented evidence of a potentially risky constellation of health issues: increased body mass index (BMI), high cholesterol and lower physical stamina.

This constellation of symptoms, says, Prof. Schlagenhauf, “is suggestive of a higher risk of developing metabolic disorders and possible cardiovascular complications.”

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Advice to the young: Be proactive about your future health

“These results have societal and public-health effects and can be used to guide strategies for broad interdisciplinary evaluation of Covid-19 sequelae, their management, curative treatments, and provision of support in young adult populations,” says Prof. Schlagenhauf.

In other words, the medical community should probably be paying closer attention to the health of young patients following a COVID infection — even a mild one.

Until this awareness spreads to the greater medical community, young adults (and their parents and grandparents) would do well to monitor their heart and lung health following a COVID infection, even a mild one.

As an example, I’m going to suggest to my 28-year-old son that he see his doctor twice a year and have his heart and lungs looked at more closely than they would during a routine exam.

He had a “mild” case of COVID about nine months ago. Perhaps by monitoring his health more closely, he’ll be able to avoid any cardiovascular issues that may arise during his 30s or 40s to live a longer, healthier life.

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Sources:

High cholesterol, overweight and reduced physical stamina are long COVID sequelae in young adults — Science Daily

Persistence, prevalence, and polymorphism of sequelae after COVID-19 in unvaccinated, young adults of the Swiss Armed Forces: a longitudinal, cohort study (LoCoMo) — Lancet Infectious Diseases

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.