COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- New data reveals long COVID sufferers are overwhelmingly younger, active, and female.
A recent study shows a high proportion of patients are women in their 40s and 50s. And it can be hard to treat as doctors continue to crack the long COVID puzzle.
For Jenna Bruce, it has been a long and challenging two and a half years.
"I feel like I have PTSD with COVID," says Jenna Bruce, A Colorado Springs mom, and long COVID patient.
As a working mom, the lingering symptoms have impacted her professional and personal life. Bruce's daughter, Jade, was only two when the pandemic started. Bruce got her first case of COVID in March of 2020 and the recovery was slow.
"Bad sore throat, nasty cough, shortness of breath. I thought someone was sitting on my chest. Numbness in areas and about 2-3 days into it started to feel more like the flu. On day 5 it felt like I was having a heart attack in the middle of the night."
She struggled to do everyday household tasks for months afterward.
"All I can think of is that it is something with my immune system. Maybe my immune system isn't catching it right away allowing the virus to spread quickly."
Bruce has now had COVID a couple of times. She is vaccinated and boosted. The World Health Organization estimates that 10 to 20 percent of people will experience ongoing symptoms, similar to what Bruce is facing.
"I am getting closer to 100 percent. It's been almost 2 and a half years now and I do still have some weird symptoms. Sometimes I get some fatigue, sometimes some vision problems. Neurological have been the toughest for me, so I get a lot of numbness in my face, throat, and arm and I still can't exercise the way I want to. I used to do the Manitou Incline in 30 minutes."
There's no cure for long COVID, leaving many doctors to use pre-existing treatments to help ease a variety of symptoms.
"What seems to have worked the best is being extremely strict with my diet. I've done a low histamine diet, anti-inflammatory, fasting has been extremely helpful for me and I was told that was because of the detox effect it can have on the body."
The Centers for Disease and Control have started several studies on long COVID and why some people are having lasting health issues. For more information on treatment and support for long COVID, click here.