Dear Dr. Roach: I am a relatively healthy 80 year old male. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I’m a vegetarian. I exercise moderately and am not overweight. About 30 years ago I had a serious urinary tract infection at work. I was so cold, my teeth were chattering and I was shaking.
Luckily, the local fire department responded to the malfunctioning fire alarm. One of her EMTs took one look at me and called an ambulance and I went to the local ER. I was diagnosed with a massive UTI and put on IV antibiotics.As my overall health was good, I was discharged with more antibiotics and to rest at home. .
Since then, it’s always cold, especially in cold weather, and we need twice as much clothing. Wear socks, sweatpants, a shirt, and a hat when you go to bed. I have multiple layers of blankets. Any thoughts on this?
I have a guess.
One of the most common causes of sepsis is an infection that begins in the urinary system, often as a result of kidney stones or, in men, an enlarged prostate. Sepsis has lasting effects on the body for years after infection.
The most commonly known are neurological and cognitive problems ranging from muscle weakness to depression, PTSD, memory loss and the ability to think clearly. One of the lesser known effects is changes in thermoregulation. This is apparently reset during infection (at the level of the hypothalamus, deep in the brain), but many people complain of colds after infection.
Another possibility is weight loss. You said you’re not overweight, but most people lose weight during severe infections. I doubt this is the whole answer, but it might contribute.
The thyroid gland is also affected by sepsis, usually resulting in low thyroid levels. I should have checked these. Finally, many people become less cold tolerant as they age, but this seems like a sudden and dramatic change when you’re still quite young (50 is still very young from a medical point of view). young).
I’m sure you’ve appreciated that sharp-eyed EMT over the years. When people get sick like you, there is a point where the body can’t recover, and good EMT judgment may have saved your life.
Dear Dr. Roach: Two weeks after contracting COVID-19 last April, I started showing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. These symptoms worsened and she was prescribed levodopa/carbidopa in August. my symptoms disappeared. A neurologist diagnosed Parkinson’s disease without any other tests. I am a 59 year old female with no history of her disease nor family history of Parkinson’s.
I started reading the shivering reported after COVID. Is it possible that shivering is directly related to the virus? Does it go away on its own over time without progressing like Parkinson’s?
COVID-19 is rewriting textbooks. There is still much to learn, but it is correct that a small number of people will develop Parkinson’s symptoms and that these symptoms are short-lived and may not represent real Parkinson’s disease. It is not yet known whether these symptoms predict Parkinson’s later in life or pose additional risks.
Dr. Roach regrets not being able to respond to individual letters, but incorporates them into his columns whenever possible. Readers can email questions to [email protected]