The so-called “long Covid” or persistent (or long-lasting) Covid in English seems to affect an increasing number of patients who suffered the infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus last year. A new study by a group of scientists from the University of Birmingham has sought to clarify what the main symptoms of persistent Covid are.
If you have these symptoms, you may be suffering from persistent Covid
In this way, those people who have passed the disease and have any of the symptoms that are revealed in the study, it is possible that they have already been diagnosed by suffering the permanent “version” of Covid.
And it is that there are many patients who have survived COVID-19 , but their pathological condition does not end with the overcoming of the acute phase of the disease, but continues for months and months due to a series of symptoms that significantly reduce the quality of life . It is about the Persistent Covid, also known as post-COVID-19 syndrome that, according to a recent study carried out in the United States, affects approximately 25 percent of those recovered.
The most worrying aspect is that it affects not only those who have experienced the severe form of the infection and those who have ended up in hospital, but also patients with paucisymptomatic and asymptomatic patients. It is no coincidence that the World Health Organization (WHO) expects a real wave of persistent Covid patients, given the huge number of infections worldwide (currently almost 190 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University map). With this, a devastating socioeconomic impact is estimated, due to the large amount of lost work hours.
How is the study on persistent Covid?
The new study has found that people who experience five or more symptoms during the first week of infection have a significantly higher risk of developing long-lasting Covid, regardless of factors such as age and gender. This was determined by a British research team led by scientists from the Institute for Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham , who worked closely with colleagues from the Center for Applied Research at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) West Midlands, the company Aparito Limited, the University of Birmingham Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and other UK institutions. The scientists, led by Professor Olalekan Lee Aiyegbusi, deputy director of the Center for Patient Informed Outcomes Research (CPROR) at the University of Birmingham, reached their conclusions after conducting an in-depth review study of previous research devoted to the disease. .
The researchers determined that the ten most common symptoms in Long Covid patients are: fatigue, shortness of breath (dyspnea), muscle aches (myalgia), cough, headache, joint pain, chest pain, altered odor (parosmia), diarrhea and taste disturbances (dysgeusia).
Other common symptoms highlighted by experts also include cognitive decline, memory loss, anxiety, and sleep disturbances . In general, persistent Covid patients experience a significant reduction in quality of life, mental health problems, and occupational difficulties. Many cannot even return to work after passing the acute phase of the infection.
Professor Lee Aiyegbusi and his colleagues determined that patients at higher risk of developing persistent Covid have the following characteristics: advanced age, female gender, hospitalization at the onset of symptoms, initial dyspnea, chest pain, abnormal auscultation (sounds of the heart, lungs or other organs) and comorbidities , especially asthma). The need to be treated with oxygen, hypertension and chronic lung disease have also been associated with the risk of suffering from Covid permanently. However, as noted, having five or more symptoms early in the infection was a particularly significant risk index , regardless of other conditions.
“ There is evidence that the impact of COVID-19 on patients, regardless of its severity, extends beyond hospitalization, leading to ongoing quality of life, mental health and employment issues. People who have been living with COVID for a long time generally feel neglected by healthcare professionals and receive limited or conflicting advice. More than a third of the patients in one of the studies included in the review reported that they were still feeling ill or in worse clinical condition at eight weeks than the onset of COVID-19, ‘said Professor Lee Aiyegbusi in a statement from press, highlighting the social consequences of the condition. The researchers found a similarity in patients who have survived SARS and MERS , pathologies caused by betacoronaviruses “cousins” of SARS-CoV-2; in fact, in 25 percent of the cases, six months after discharge, the patients still had difficulty breathing and exercising.
To date , neither the triggering mechanisms of persistent Covid nor the reason why some people are more susceptible than others to suffer from it are known, which limits the development of new therapies, as the British team points out. Therefore, it is necessary to continue studying in depth the clinic of the disease to develop new models of patient care. The details of the research ” Symptoms, Complications and Management of Long-term COVID: A Review ” were published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine .