Blog, Chirosecure Live Event October 2, 2021

The Season of Long COVID – Part 2

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Hello everybody. Dr. Julie McLaughlin here from Vital Health Protocols. I am super excited to be here with you today. We are going to be talking about the season of long COVID and we know, um, has been a really long season, um, uh, longer for some of us than other of us. So, uh, I have some slides to share with you, so let’s get started. So, first of all, I would like to thank ChiroSecure. They are our sponsor, um, for our empowering women, Facebook live and they are the best malpractice carrier. I can say that because they’re my malpractice carrier. And, um, they sponsor so many of these educational programs that are super, super helpful in every different topics. So we want to do a thumbs up little hearts, everything for Chiros.

So like you said, we’re going to be talking about the season of a long COVID and I want to be really clear. We’re not talking about COVID we’re talking about long COVID and uh, I had a conversation yesterday with someone who thought that long COVID was contagious, like COVID and it is not. So just to be clear, it’s a long COVID we’re talking about today. So I did a talk on the same topic a couple of weeks ago. And so I’m just going to give you a little recap in case you missed it, and you can always go back and see, cause I did a lot of different things in that talk, but so with long COVID, it’s going to be, if you’ve had symptoms greater than 12 weeks in acute COVID, you’re going to have symptoms for the first two weeks and post acute COVID is up to 12 weeks. But once you get greater than 12 weeks is considered long COVID.

So with long COVID, it is a huge, huge, definitely syndrome that we’re looking at. And we’re going to get into it a little deeper, but I want you to know yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to create healing because you feel like you got dumped out and you’re not able to build back up your immune system, your health, if you have long COVID. So we have to forget about what we had yesterday and start on healing today. So some of the other things that they call it as post acute COVID syndrome, and that’s the same thing as long COVID or long haulers, there’s a lot of different names for chronic COVID, but I can tell you this, there are more than 50 symptoms for people who have long COVID and the most common symptom of those 50 are that the symptoms always change.

So whatever symptom you have now, and maybe a month or two months, it will be gone, but you’ll have a new symptom and you don’t get to pick, you know, don’t I wish we would get to pick what symptom we got. So there’s so many symptoms. So you’re going to see this in your patients. The average long holler has at least 20 symptoms minimum. And I mean, that’s a lot of symptoms. When you think when patients come in and they got a lower back pain, they have one symptom, maybe they have two. Maybe they have sciatica 20 symptoms on average.

So when we think about this, how many people it impacts. So we have 39 million plus people that have been affected infected with SARS cov two and 30% of those people is estimated that have experienced long COVID or the post COVID syndrome. So in many, many people, including many doctors don’t know anything about this, which is really, really criminal because you think of how many people are truly affected. So one day you will tell your story on how you overcame the storm and it will be part of someone else’s survival guide. So I’m here to tell you the reason I’m talking about long COVID is I have long COVID. I actually am on oxygen. I’m not doing it right now since I’m talking to you and it makes a bunch of noise, but I got long COVID, um, last spring. And, um, I’ve been really fighting this ever since.

And I have, it feels like all 50 of the symptoms, not just 20. And I’ve been to every specialist there is, and I have researched this more than you can ever imagine. And one of my big questions is why, why did I get it? Why did other people in my family get it? And they were sick for two days and I got it for, you know, five, six months. So it’s a big question that everybody wants to know. And so I really been diving into the research. It, um, I have not been able to practice this whole time. I’ve been doing some telehealth, um, with some functional medicine patients, but I haven’t been able to adjust. So I have a wonderful associate that has been adjusting our patients, but it really does take over your life and your health. And you think that you’re not going to come back from this. So I want to try to help as many people as I can understand what long COVID is and what are some of the things that you can do to help your patients and help yourself if God forbid you have this.

So what I found out is it effects the sickest people and it affects the healthiest people. I, it makes no sense, but when we look at the studies and this study came out yesterday, right, and this is from the national Institute to, to health, it found that it’s an auto immune response with COVID. So we’ve been leaning this way. So we were saying long COVID is auto-immune like, but it’s really pointing that, that COVID is creating its own auto immunity. So the researchers are really trying understand it. Why some people get this huge response and why other people get nothing. So it has to do with the auto antibodies, right? And remember, those are the ACE two that we hear about the auto antibodies. They are the immune systems proteins, and they mistakenly target your body’s own tissues, right? And then that starts to attack and creates that cytokine storm.

So if you have low levels of these auto antibodies, these are people who have little to no symptoms, and they could have had a few of those little auto antibodies before they even got going with COVID. But the very sickest people who, the people who are dying, unfortunately, are on ventilators. They had a lot of auto antibodies, probably from another autoimmune disease prior to having COVID. So if they had these things, they already had so many and then COVID created more. That’s why their symptoms got so severe. Now, if you remember, last time I went through what mild, moderate, severe COVID is. Um, and then, you know, really, really severe COVID and I’m in the severe category, but I’ve fell into the healthiest of the categories here. I had no auto antibodies prior to developing COVID at all. And, uh, so what happened is that all of a sudden, because I had none of this, it created very high levels of the disease process. And then it started targeting the immune system, such as the cytokines, and then that normally helps with the immune response, but it dampened the immune response, so is able to go crazy. So when you think about this, because I tested myself on every autoimmune disease, there is because I thought, geez, I must have something that I didn’t know about. That’s why I got long COVID, but I’ve tested everything. And I didn’t, and I’ve tested this on some of my patients who have long COVID too. And it turns out that it’s really these auto antibodies.

So here’s another study where it talks about them. They’re the [inaudible] auto antibodies that are happening after the SARS COVID infection. Now let’s see where they target, what organs that they target. So they pretty much target every organ system in our body, except for our ears. I had every single organ system has receptors for these. So you can see if you have so many of these auto antibodies and they get into these receptors, you’re going to have symptoms. That’s why some COVID long COVID patients have, um, kidney problems where other people have lung problems where other people have liver problems. And it’s such a variety and you don’t see other diseases like this. You see a disease that has these characteristics. If you have these characteristics, you have this condition, but with long COVID, it varies person for person. And I have to say, I think that that’s, what’s created some of the skeptical illness in our society because not believing people who have COVID or long COVID because everybody’s different, but we have to know is how their body responded to those auto antibodies.

So one of the biggest problems with all of COVID is not so much the virus itself, but it’s the inflammatory or that cytokine storm, which occurs as a, is robust in a vigorous immune system. And then it’s going to react to the presence of that virus. So this is really where we’re having that problem is that auto antibody and how it’s triggering your immune system to basically attack itself. And while your immune system is attacking itself, COVID is attacking you. So when we look at this, like, why does this happen? So there’s a type one interferon response, and this is a study from this. And you can see in the top slide, it shows when you get an acute infection, you get a pro-inflammatory response, you get a, you know, acute viral state, you get an immune activation. And then, but when it is into a chronic one, you’re going to get post viral state and you’re going to get immune hyper-sensitive Tivity. And so you never get out of that cycle and you get stuck in these different phases of COVID.

Okay. And so here’s a question. Do auto antibodies produce during COVID lead to autoimmune diseases later in life? We don’t know the answer, but it’s a really good question. And they’re definitely doing studies on this and they need more studies to research on how these auto antibodies contribute to COVID and long COVID symptoms. But, you know, the thing is, is if it’s an autoimmune disease, it’s a new autoimmune disease, and we really don’t know how to react to it or how to treat it. But we want to know what the long-term effect, and it’s going to take us years to find that out. But so I want you to keep an eye on the research about those auto antibodies.

So in the impact of long COVID right, how is it packed our life activities? 78% have fatigue, and these were monitored on the fatigue, severity score testing, 63% at least have mild cognitive impairment on the neuro wool and 40% have a moderate to severe shortness of breath. Right? And that’s on the breathlessness scale. And 62% of patients have had no change or have had change in their employment status as a result of their symptoms. So many people are not able to go back to work and do what they were doing because of the symptoms of long COVID. And I am one of those examples.

So there’s a big question about the antibody testing. So I want to really show you an example of this. So whether you’ve had, COVID not had COVID or had the vaccine, this is what an antibody tests looks like. So if you have had COVID and you had your antibodies tested, you test the Nucleo capsule of the virus, right? The little round capsule that capsule has a spike protein on it. So if you had COVID, you’re going to have both the nuclear capsule and you’re going to have the spike antibody, and then they do a quantitative will. They’ll give you a number of what it is. And you can see on this one, that the number is really high. It’s greater than one on the nuclear capsid. And this patient’s at 18. And then when we look at the spike protein, of course, they had that too, because they had COVID now on a patient who only had the vaccine.

You will only see the spike protein antibody, because that’s what they give in the vaccine. So you will not see the Nucleo capsule. So you will be able to know, was this patient exposed to COVID? Was this patient just have the vaccine, but the problem is people are losing their immunity and you can see these numbers, these quantitative numbers drop over time. So if you tested somebody’s antibodies every month, or every three months, you can see these drop in. Some people drop their antibodies very quick, and they’re getting repeated cases of COVID or COVID post vaccine. And some people hold the antibodies for a really, really long time. And that is a question of why, why some people hold on to it. And some people don’t, but if you did have COVID and you have both the caps, nuclear capsid antibodies, and the spike protein, you’re going to have a broader based immunity than someone who’s just had the vaccine. So that’s, we’re seeing a lot of post vaccine COVID cases.

So these are the phases of COVID prevention. Ideally, we want to prevent it. I want no one anybody to get COVID. Then we get in the infection stage inflammation, stage and recovery stage. And unfortunately long COVID you get in one of these phases, the people who have the fatalities and are really suffering, get stuck in that infection stage, where those interferons are still continuing to cycle. If you get stuck in the inflammatory phase, that’s when your symptoms are going to be severe, but they’re going to change all the time. And then in the recovery phase, that’s when you have to repair the mitochondria and rebuild your system. And one of the things that I learned, and I want you to know this with your patients and help make sure that they know this is that you can’t compare a well, I want to be better back to where I was before. COVID you have to be better than you were yesterday. You have to be better than you were last month because the progression of improvement is as low as 5% a month of improvement on this long COVID.

So there’s seven likely main issues with COVID. And I’m just going to talk about what they are because each one of them is a whole nother conversation, and we don’t have time for that, but it central nervous system, dysregulation people get brain fog and pots and stress, anxiety, PTSD, depression, and neural inflammation. And we know if it’s affecting our central nervous system, it affects everything in your body. We know if X auto immunity, it either flares, an old one that you may have had, or creates a whole new one, the Mike Rowe, vascular damage or hypoxia. Right. And you can have hypoxia in any of your organs, not just in your lungs, expansion of the viral burden. Maybe you had other viruses like Epstein-Barr or chronic fatigue or, or, um, you know, herpes virus, any of those viruses, when you get more viral, uh, burden, it’s harder for your immune system to fight.

It causes fibrosis. Um, I know I have some infiltrates in some ground glass in my lungs that I’m working like crazy, not to cause them to become fibrosis, but they’ve been there for many months and we can get fibrosis in our kidneys, our heart, our liver, as well as our lungs. It causes barrier damage. So there’s gut involvement and we all know the brain gut connection. And then there’s neurogenic inflammation. And this is where they get mass cell activation or high histamine levels. So this links and causes a lot of dysautonomia in the patients where they lay down and then they sit up and as soon as they sit up their heart rate spikes, and if you walk, forget it, your heart rate spikes.

So when you’re assessing the patients with long COVID and my last talk, I told you about some questionnaires you could use, but here are some tests that you can do that are lab tests. I’m not going to read them all off for you, but I want you to pause the video if you want to write them down. But these are some of the tests that some cytokine markers, there’s some inflammatory markers in here where we’re really looking at how the disease is progressing. You can look at things like plasma, histamine, where you’re seeing where those levels are. I’m taking tons of supplements and we that’s a whole nother conversation, um, to try to lower that plasma histamine. And it’s a huge, huge struggle. Um, you want to look at the antibodies as well to see if that patient is vulnerable to getting reinfected again. Um, D dimer is going to help us to know with blood clotting cause that’s a huge risk. And then we want to watch this throughout the progression of the disease and compare the before and afters on these patients, especially like I’m a CBC look at the lymphocytes and the neutrophils. They don’t act like any other disease. They’re the opposite, same thing with the monocytes and the white blood cells.

So when we talk about lifestyle management with COVID, I’m going to give you some things that you can do at home if you or your patients are suffering from this. So when we talk about this, we kind of put it in categories, depending on when your symptoms. So if you’re getting a lot of shortness of breath and breathing symptoms, you want to sing, right? You don’t have to sing in front of anybody, but you want to sing to try to get your lungs exercises. And then you want to work on breathing exercises. There’s a great website. It’s called stasis. Um, they are part of the Mount Sinai program and they have great breathing exercises that are on there for specifically for post K COVID patients. Um, you want to wear compression, either socks or even, uh, leggings, because you want 20 to 30 pounds of pressure to help keep that blood pressure up and to help keep your circulation going to help your heart rate, stay down.

If you’re going to be able to do exercises, they should only be recumbent exercises. Um, swimming is probably one of the best places to do it because you have 90 pounds of pressure from the pool, from the water. So that’s a great place, but you never want to exercise starting too early when you’re having COVID. It might not even be good to start it until you’re one to four months or three to four months in because your symptoms will be too acute. Prior to that, you want to have a pulse oximeter. If you drop below 90 on that pulse socks, you need to go to the emergency room.

So you want to monitor your heart rate. You want to monitor it during your cardio exercise, but you also want to monitor it. If you’re getting dysautonomia where I know my heart rate is, is maxing out anywhere from two to four hours a day. And as I’m doing maybe 2000 steps in a day, so your heart rate can really go crazy. Um, you want to have progress. So writing down your symptoms, um, and every day they might not change, but look back at it every month because you need to see progress that you’re improving. And that’s the same thing with the blood tests. Look for those little wins, because they’re not going to be huge and apparent like when you get the flu, you’re sick for a week and then you’re like, oh yeah, I’m getting better. It’s not that way with COVID meditation. And hypnosis helps for some of the brain fog, as well as memory training. These are a couple apps, reverie and luminosity are great for that olfactory training. A lot of people lose their sense of smell and taste, or you can have a really wonderful symptom that I had is that you smell cigarette smoke all the time, or you smell something really foul, smell all the time. And so there’s some essential oil retraining that you can do with your old factories by smelling a bunch of different essential oils every day, few times a day. And I have to tell you, it really does work.

So how about sleeping? You want to sleep prone. And as chiropractors, we don’t have our patients sleeping prone. We have them sleeping on their back or their side, but this helps change the position of the lungs, um, to get you more oxygenation exchange through your lungs, you want to have no alcohol. You want to eat a low histamine diet. Alcohol is high in histamines, um, and we don’t need our bodies to be fighting any, any more of that. Um, you want to make sure you get as much rest as you can. COVID causes insomnia, but then it also causes extreme fatigue. So arrest whenever you can. Um, that was really hard for me, cause I’m not a big person to be resting all the time. And, uh, I had to force myself to let the body heal. You want to increase your salt? I know this is crazy.

Even the cardiologist said to me, can you believe I’m telling you to increase your salt? I let him, like I know up to 10 grams a day and that’s to help control the blood pressure and the heart rate and increased fluids for the same reason you want to avoid caffeine. So caffeine is going to increase your heart rate and cause anxiety. You want to eat small frequent meals. When you eat large meals, it will trigger the pot. You will definitely start to feel worse. You could sweat all over, um, the, the larger meals. It takes all your energy to digest that food. So small meals, and you want to also watch your temperature. So heat is a huge vasodilator and it triggers a lot of the symptoms to come on, like taking a shower. When you have long COVID is torture the heat in that you have to take a cool shower. Um, if you’re even going to be able to withstand staying in the shower, one of the things that you can do is try to cool the palms of your hands in the bottom of your feet. Um, with some ice packs that really helps minimize that trigger. At four months, you can begin to exercise upright, like maybe on a bike, but maybe you start at five minutes a day and then work up from there. Um, at month five is when you can do more training, maybe on elliptical or a treadmill.

So in supplements, that’s a whole nother conversation for another time. Um, but there’s lots of supplements that we can do where I didn’t talk about medications because I don’t prescribe medications, but there are a lot of medications that can be helpful or some that aren’t so helpful for a long COVID. Um, but I want you to take these in and use these things to help your patients help yourselves, help your family members. Because those little things I wish I knew about them from the beginning, because they really, really make a difference. So I have to tell you, I’m still dancing. The storm has definitely changed direction. I I’m starting to improve and you just have to look forward and you can’t compare to where you were before the disease to where you are now, because you get very, very disappointed. You have to just compare week by week, month by month, what’s changing and improving because it’s a journey, not a destination, just like every disease that we have. We want to go through that journey and come out healthier on the other end. So I would like to thank ChiroSecure again. They are awesome. And, uh, for sponsoring our empowering women. And then I want you to be sure to join in two weeks for our next empowering women show again. So have a great day and I’ll talk to you guys soon.

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