“I went out and actually watched my heart rate and saw how slow I actually had to go. So the first rounds were really slow with a lot of walks tossed in,” Parrott said. “If my heart rate got too high, I walked. My heart rate got too high, I walked.” One acquaintance told him to monitor his heart rate to prevent what doctors call exercise intolerance. Many long-haulers report an inability to exercise and may suffer even worse fatigue after working out. For Parrott, it helped him keep moving and rebuilding his strength until he was finally able to see a provider.
It’s not the long distance runs he used to do, but it’s progress, he told IPR back in March. “Now my workout is jog one minute, run one minute, jog one minute, walk 30 seconds. And I repeat that,” Parrott said.
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Like many who are uninsured or underinsured, Parrott turned to friends and online communities for advice. As weeks of illness turned into months, the former track and field coach and Ames resident continued to struggle with persistent chest pain, headaches and fatigue, and watched as his hard-earned stamina disappeared.
Some are so weak they can barely walk up a flight of stairs. Others struggle with what’s known as brain fog, which some doctors say is akin to dementia. Providers across the state are working to reach long-haulers, to get them care and to drive home the message that long COVID is a real condition. Estimates suggest there may be thousands of long-haulers in Iowa.
-Alejandro Pezzulo, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics “Really what we’re seeing is that patients of all walks of life, all ages, all types of comorbidities, from completely healthy to people with chronic illness, they’re all presenting with various degrees of this.”
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