'TORTUROUS': Woman with long Covid now struggles to swallow

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A 31-year-old woman suffering from long Covid has shared a little-known side effect from the virus that has made it difficult for her to eat.

Marianna Cisneros, from California, tested positive for Covid in July, 2020 and is still suffering debilitating symptoms of the virus.

Ms Cisneros suffers from a condition called dysphasia, which means she has trouble swallowing food.

Long Covid sufferer Marianna Cisnero in a hospital bed.
Marianna Cisnero, a long Covid sufferer, contracted Covid-19 in July 2020. Source: Facebook

"[Doctors] don't know why," she explained in a TikTok video saying it could be due to some neurological damage, adding it's a side effect that's not talked about enough.

Describing the condition as "torturous" the ICU nurse and mother of three said there are a few reasons why she may be suffering the condition, including her autonomic nervous system because she has Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), or peripheral neuropathy, which she has on her entire right side.

"Do you know how torturous it is to be this young and have to drink Ensure for most of your calories and on a good day mashed potatoes?" Ms Cisneros asked.

"I've been dealing with this for over a year now and I'm frustrated because I want to eat.

"I'm hungry a lot of the time and I just can't because I risk food getting stuck or aspirating on it."

Ms Cisnero has been documenting her recovery on her TikTok, saying her doctors first thought she had a stroke after testing positive because of paralysis and numbness following her diagnosis.

"I could hardly walk and I was having a lot of weird neurological conditions," she explained. 'That's why I fight so hard to bring awareness to it because a lot of people didn't believe [me]."

Thousands of comments were posted on the video, many users thanking Ms Cisneros for bringing the problem to light.

"Just because you had ‘mild’ Covid doesn't remove u from the possibility of developing some random chronic illness," one user wrote.

"Was a good 6 months until I felt my swallowing back to “normal”," added another. "Was a traumatic experience."

Ms Cisneros is an ICU nurse and says she was very active pre-Covid. Source: Facebook
Ms Cisneros is an ICU nurse and says she was very active pre-Covid. Source: Facebook

New study potentially helping long Covid sufferers

A team of Australian researchers and clinicians have uncovered an immune profile for long Covid, which could potentially help treat the long-term effects of the virus.

The research looked at the impact of long Covid on the immune system through laboratory analysis. It could lead to specific treatment for those with ongoing symptoms.

According to a study by UNSW’s Kirby Institute and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, approximately 30 per cent of unvaccinated people who contracted Covid and were followed in the study have experienced some long Covid symptoms.

St Vincent's Hospital's head of infectious diseases Professor Gail Matthews said when someone has a virus, the immune system gets switched on to respond to the virus and eliminate it, however that is different with coronavirus.

“What we’re seeing with long Covid is that even when the virus has completely left the body, the immune system remains switched on," she explained in a press release.

"If you measure the same thing after a standard cough or cold, which we did in this study through one of our control groups, this signal is not there. It’s unique to sufferers of long Covid."

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