Professor draws attention to lesser-known sign in the legs of Long Covid

Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus

Around two million people live with the persisting symptoms of coronavirus, also known as Long Covid, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Headlined by symptoms like tiredness and concentration problems, the long-term condition causes an array of debilitating problems.

Although scientists are still trying to fully understand the exact impact of Long Covid on the body, it seems to affect multiple systems.

Now, a new study, published in the Lancet, proposes a new candidate for the list of Long Covid symptoms.

The research team highlighted an unusual case of a long Covid patient’s legs turning blue after 10 minutes of standing.

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The scientists are now calling for greater awareness of this symptom among people with the condition. 

The research paper looked at the case of a 33-year-old man who developed venous pooling of blood in the legs, also known as acrocyanosis.

A minute after standing, the man’s legs began to redden and became increasingly blue over time, with his veins becoming more prominent. 

After 10 minutes, the blue colour was even more pronounced, with the patient describing a heavy, itchy sensation in his legs. 

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However, this colourful sign isn’t permanent and can return back to normal after resting.

The man’s original skin colour came back two minutes after he returned to a non-standing position. 

The patient explained he had started to experience the discolouration since his COVID-19 infection. 

He was also diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition that causes an abnormal increase in heart rate on standing.  

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Author of the study, Dr Manoj Sivan from the University of Leeds, said: “This was a striking case of acrocyanosis in a patient who had not experienced it before his COVID-19 infection.  

“Patients experiencing this may not be aware that it can be a symptom of Long Covid and dysautonomia and may feel concerned about what they are seeing. 

“Similarly, clinicians may not be aware of the link between acrocyanosis and Long Covid. 

“We need to ensure that there is more awareness of dysautonomia in Long Covid so that clinicians have the tools they need to manage patients appropriately.” 

Previous research from Dr Sivan’s team has shown that both dysautonomia and POTS frequently develop in people with Long Covid. 

However, Long Covid isn’t the only long-term condition that spurs on the colourful sign.

Legs turning blue are also associated with the likes of fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.  

Dr Sivan added: “We need more awareness about dysautonomia in long-term conditions; more effective assessment and management approaches, and further research into the syndrome. This will enable both patients and clinicians to better manage these conditions.” 

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