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Amarillo endocrinologist sees COVID-19 long-haulers develop thyroid disease

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - By now, we are familiar with some of the symptoms coronavirus long-haulers experience like, body aches, fatigue and brain fog.

Now, there’s something else to add on that list, thyroid disease.

In a regular year, endocrinologist at Amarillo Medical Specialists, William Biggs sees five to six cases of subacute thyroiditis, an inflammatory disease of the thyroid gland.

Lately, he’s seen five to six cases a month.

“So we think that the thyroid gland may be particularly susceptible to the effects of the virus itself and it will cause the thyroid to inappropriately release excessive amount of thyroid hormone,” said Biggs.

He said many of the patients don’t have a previous history of thyroid disease.

“‘Well, have you had COVID?’ Sometimes we would get the history,” said Biggs. “‘Yeah, I had COVID last year and I had forgotten all bout it,’ or alternatively, sometimes they were unaware, but we’ll check the antibodies and they’re antibody positive.”

The disease can show three to six months after having COVID-19 and symptoms include, tenderness when pressure is applied to the thyroid gland, difficulty or painful swallowing, fatigue and fever.

“When we say that it was associated with COVID, it’s usually going to get better on its own,” said Biggs. “So we can reassure the person, ‘Okay, this should run its course’.”

Local endocrinologist Susan Wingo said, she has not seen the same frequency of the disease, but is not surprised as it usually takes place after a viral infection.

Other symptoms Biggs has seen among long-haulers are difficulty sleeping, headaches and impotence among some male patients.

If you have any of these symptoms, the recommendation is to schedule an evaluation with a doctor.

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