The majority of patients with moderate or severe cases of COVID had at least one long-term symptom, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that nearly three-quarters of people continued to suffer fatigue, shortness of breath and even brain fog after clearing the infection or being discharged from the hospital.
In some instances, the patients dealt with symptoms for about 60 days and, in others, for as long as six months.
The team, from Stanford University, says the findings suggest that doctors should continue to follow-up with their patients so they can ‘better advise and treat’ them if their symptoms persist.
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Nearly three-quarters of people, 73%, said they had at least one persisting symptom, lasting as long as six months, a new study found
‘We had no data on individuals who got COVID-19 and simply went about their day, so we don’t want to cause a lot of alarm with the value of 73% of people experiencing long-term outcomes,’ lead author Tahmina Nasserie, a PhD candidate in epidemiology and population health at Stanford University told CNN.
‘We want people to understand that these are mainly hospitalized so we can only generalize our findings for that particular population.’
COVID-19 has wide ranging effects on people and acts without prejudice meaning some will have mild symptoms and recover quite quickly while others may suffer
Those in the latter category have become known as ‘long-haulers,’ with
For the analysis, published in JAMA Network Open, the team reviewed 45 studies published between January 1, 2020 and March 11, 2021 including more than 9,700 patients.
The studies specifically looked at ‘persistent’ symptoms, defined as continuing at least 60 days after diagnosis, symptom onset or hospitalization or at least 30 days after recovery being discharged from the hospitals.
Results showed that about 73 percent of patients reported experiencing at least one long-term symptom.
This figure was consistent even in the studies that followed patients up to six months after they recovered.
The most common symptom was fatigue or exhaustion, reported in about 40 percent of ‘long-haulers.’
An additional 36 percent said they had shortness of breath and 29.4 percent reported sleep disorders or insomnia.
About 25 percent reported an inability to concentrate, also known as brain fog, and 11 percent has a loss of taste.
‘This systematic review found that COVID-19 symptoms frequently persist beyond the acute phase of infection, but there is a need to standardize designs and improve study quality,’ the authors wrote.
‘With millions of individuals experiencing COVID-19 infection, persistent symptoms are a burden on individual patients and their families as well as on outpatient care, public health, and the economy.
‘The findings of this review should help to improve future study quality…enabling researchers to better assess the risk of long-term outcomes associated with COVID-19 and physicians to better advise and treat their patients.’
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