- More than half of all patients reported weight loss, fatigue, fever: Study
- Roughly one in five survivors experienced a decrease in mobility: Study
- Nearly one in four survivors experienced difficulty concentrating: Study
Washington: More than half number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 experience post-COVID symptoms, known as long COVID, up to six months after recovering, according to a study. The researchers at Penn State College of Medicine in the US noted that governments, health care organisations and public health professionals should prepare for the large number of COVID-19 survivors who will need care for a variety of psychological and physical symptoms. During their illnesses, many patients with COVID-19 experience symptoms, such as tiredness, difficulty breathing, chest pain, sore joints and loss of taste or smell, they said.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, reviewed 57 reports that included data from 250,351 unvaccinated adults and children who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from December 2019 through March 2021. Among those studied, 79 per cent were hospitalised, and most patients (79 per cent) lived in high-income countries. Patients’ median age was 54, and the majority of individuals (56 per cent) were male.
The researchers analysed patients’ health post-COVID during three intervals at one month (short-term), two to five months (intermediate-term) and six or more months (long-term). According to the findings, survivors experienced an array of residual health issues associated with COVID-19.
Generally, these complications affected a patient’s general well-being, their mobility or organ systems. Overall, one in two survivors experienced long-term COVID manifestations. The rates remained largely constant from one month through six or more months after their initial illness. The researchers noted several trends among survivors.
More than half of all patients reported weight loss, fatigue, fever or pain. Roughly one in five survivors experienced a decrease in mobility. Nearly one in four survivors experienced difficulty concentrating or were diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorders. Six in ten survivors had chest imaging abnormality and more than a quarter of patients had difficulty breathing. Chest pain and palpitations were among the commonly reported conditions. Nearly one in five patients experienced hair loss or rashes. Stomach pain, lack of appetite, diarrhoea and vomiting were among the commonly reported conditions.
These findings confirm what many health care workers and COVID-19 survivors have been claiming, namely, that adverse health effects from COVID-19 can linger. Although previous studies have examined the prevalence of long COVID symptoms among patients, this study examined a larger population, including people in high-, middle- and low-income countries, and examined many more symptoms, said study co-lead investigator Vernon Chinchilli from Penn State.
The researchers noted that the mechanisms by which COVID-19 causes lingering symptoms in survivors are not fully understood. These symptoms could result from immune-system overdrive triggered by the virus, lingering infection, reinfection or an increased production of autoantibodies — antibodies directed at their own tissues, they said. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, the agent that causes COVID-19, can access, enter and live in the nervous system, the researchers said. As a result, nervous system symptoms such as taste or smell disorders, memory impairment and decreased attention and concentration commonly occur in survivors, they added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.