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Post-COVID Linked to More Than 200 Symptoms

Post-COVID Linked to More Than 200 Symptoms

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  • There is a possibility of post-covid complications to last beyond seven months
  • More than 200 symptoms were associated with the post-covid syndrome
  • Fatigue, post-exertional malaise, and cognitive dysfunction are the top-most post-covid complications

Post-COVID syndrome might include more than 200 symptoms, revealed the new largest global study on COVID-Long haulers.


"While there has been a lot of public discussion around long Covid, there are few systematic studies investigating this population. Relatively little is known about its range of symptoms, and their progression over time, the severity, and expected longevity, its impact on daily functioning, and expected to return to baseline health," said Athena Akrami, a neuroscientist at University College London in the UK, and senior author of the study.

What is Long-COVID?

Long-COVID or Post-COVID syndrome refers to the clinical complications that last weeks or months after recovering from COVID-19. People who seem to have these complications are the ones older than 50 years of age and individuals with pre-existing co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, or obesity. The most commonly reported post-covid complications are fatigue, breathing difficulties, loss of smell or taste, joint pain, and digestive disorders.

What is New about this Study?

The researchers have designed a web-based survey that helps analyze the symptom profile and time frame of post-covid health complications for the new study.

To characterize the cases more accurately, they restricted the survey only to the 3,762 eligible participants from 56 countries who had clinically confirmed or suspected COVID-19. All of them experienced post-covid health issues for more than 28 days.

The survey was made possible by COVID-19 support groups like Body Politic, Long COVID Support Group, Long Haul COVID Fighters, and socialmedia like Twitter and Facebook. The data were collected from September 6, 2020, to November 25, 2020.

Highlights of the Case

Based on the responses received, the researchers reported that
  • The probability of post-covid complications lasting beyond seven months was 91.8%
  • Around 96% of the respondents had health issues beyond three months, 65% had them for about six months
  • People who recovered in less than three months showed a peak in the average number of symptoms at week two, whereas those who did not recover within three months showed the same peak at the second month
  • More than 200 symptoms were associated with the post-covid syndrome. The participants experienced an average of 56 symptoms
  • An average of about 14 symptoms was experienced by respondents who had health issues for over six months
  • The most prevalent symptoms were fatigue, post-exertional malaise (which worsens after physical or mental exertion), and cognitive dysfunction.
  • Other symptoms experienced by the participants were visual hallucinations, tremors, itchy skin, heart palpitations, shingles, memory loss, blurred vision, diarrhea, tinnitus, changes to the bladder control issues, menstrual cycle, and sexual dysfunction
"For the first time, this study shines a light on the vast spectrum of symptoms, particularly neurological, prevalent and persistent in patients with long Covid," highlighted Akrami.

The study has some limitations, including its retrospective nature and the risk of bias as the survey was distributed in online support groups. Yet, based on the significant findings, the researchers now emphasize the need for clinical guidelines to assess long covid cases.

The complete research report of this study was published in the Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine.

References :
  1. Davis, Hannah E. and Assaf, Gina S. and McCorkell, Lisa and Wei, Hannah and Low, Ryan J. and Re'em, Yochai and Redfield, Signe and Austin, Jared P. and Akrami, Athena, Characterizing Long COVID in an International Cohort: 7 Months of Symptoms and Their Impact.
  2. Long-term effects of coronavirus (long COVID) - (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/long-term-effects-of-coronavirus-long-covid/)

Source: Medindia

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