After contracting COVID, almost 2 million people in the UK experience ongoing symptoms, often known as protracted COVID.
People’s everyday activities, quality of life, and ability to work are all significantly impacted by commonly reported long COVID symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath.
Long COVID symptoms, however, go considerably beyond this. We found 62 symptoms connected to extended COVID in a recent study that was published in the journal Nature Medicine. We also looked into a few of the elements connected to a higher risk of extended COVID.
The study looked at the electronic primary care records of 1.9 million persons in England without a history of COVID and more than 450,000 people in England with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID between January 2020 and April 2021.
In terms of its demographic, social, and clinical traits, it closely matched both groups. Then, we evaluated the relative variations in how 115 symptoms were reported to GPs. We assessed this for patients with COVID at least 12 weeks following the infection.
It is said that patients with a COVID diagnosis were considerably more likely to report 62 symptoms, of which only 20 are listed in the clinical case definition for lengthy COVID provided by the World Health Organization.
Some of these symptoms, such as a loss of smell, shortness of breath, and exhaustion, were anticipated. However, several of the symptoms that we discovered to be highly related to COVID after 12 weeks were unexpected and less well-known, such as hair loss and decreased libido.
Chest discomfort, fever, stool incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and limb swelling were among the symptoms.
These discrepancies in symptoms between the infected and uninfected groups persisted even after we took into consideration factors including age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic position, body mass index, smoking status, the existence of more than 80 medical disorders, and previous reporting of the same symptom.
Patients with long COVID require specialized healthcare services that acknowledge the fact that long COVID is a heterogeneous set of overlapping illnesses that require individualized care, rather than a single ailment.
Clinical studies are required in the interim to assess prospective therapies aimed at the range of long COVID symptoms, with the goal of enhancing long COVID patients’ quality of life.