People who have suffered from Covid for a long time experience a wider range of symptoms than previously thoughtincluding hair loss and sexual dysfunction, new research has found.
A study published in the journal “Nature Medicine” has shown that patients with a medical history declared a SARS-CoV-2 infection 62 symptoms much more common 12 weeks after initial infection than those who had not contracted the virus.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK, along with a team of doctors and researchers from across England, analyzed the anonymous electronic health records of 2.4 million people in the UK, with funding from the UK’s National Institute for Health Research and Care and Research and Innovation .
Contains data taken between January 2020 and April 2021 486,149 people with previous infectionand 1.9 million people with no evidence of coronavirus infection after matching other clinical diagnoses.
The research team could only identify outpatients three different symptom categories reports of people with ongoing health problems after infection.
Symptom patterns tended to group into respiratory symptoms, psychological and cognitive problems, and then into a broader spectrum of symptoms. While the most common symptoms are anosmia (loss of smell), shortness of breath, chest pain and fever; include others amnesia, apraxia (inability to perform familiar movements or commands), bowel incontinence, erectile dysfunction, hallucinations, or swelling of the limbs.
dr Shamil Haroon, Clinical Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Birmingham and lead author of the study, said: “This study confirms what patients have been telling clinicians and policymakers during the pandemic, that the symptoms of Long Covid are extremely broad-based and this cannot be fully explained by other factors such as lifestyle risk factors or chronic health conditions.”
“The symptoms we have identified should help clinicians and clinical guideline developers to improve the assessment of patients with long-term effects of COVID-19, such as continue to consider how best to manage this burden of symptoms“, he proposes.
For her part, Jennifer Camaradou, the patient’s partner and co-author of the study, emphasizes that “this study is essential to create and add more value to understanding the complexity and pathology of Long Covid. It shows the degree and variety of expression of symptoms between the different groups. Patients with pre-existing conditions will also appreciate the additional analysis of risk factors.”
Key demographics and behaviors
In addition to identifying a broader range of symptoms, the research team uncovered key demographics and behaviors that put people at higher risk for long-term Covid.
The study suggests that women, younger people, or people from black, mixed race, or other ethnic groups are affected a higher risk of long covid. In addition, people of low socioeconomic status, smokers, and people who are overweight or obese, and the presence of a variety of health problems have been associated with reporting persistent symptoms.
Anuradhaa Subramanian, a researcher at the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Applied Health Research and lead author of the paper, explains that analyzing data on risk factors is of particular interest because It helps us to consider what could lead to or contribute to long-term covid illness.
“We already know that certain modifiable traits, such as smoking and obesity, increase the risk of various diseases and conditions, including long-term Covid,” he says. “Others, such as Biological sex and ethnic origin also seem to be important“.
“For example, women are more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases. The greater likelihood that women in our study have long-term COVID-19 increases our interest in investigating whether autoimmunity or other causes may explain the greater risk in women – continues – These observations will help further narrow the focus of the factors, to investigate what can cause these persistent symptoms after infection, and How can we help patients? they experience.”
Focuses on the first phase of the pandemic in the UK
Medical records from 2.3 million people enabled the research team to capture post-SARS-CoV-2 infections at a unique time in the global pandemic. The study focuses on and provided the opportunity for the team to focus on the early phase of the pandemic in the UK, between January 2020 and April 2021 Compare a significant number of people who have had infections by coronavirus with a control group of uninfected individuals.
The interdisciplinary team had the Involvement of epidemiologists, clinicians, data scientists, statisticians and patients to decode electronic health records to accurately record persistent symptoms after infection.
Shamil Haroon emphasizes that “the results are a testament to the public health opportunities these datasets offer and the power of collaboration to provide much-needed evidence of the experiences of many affected by persistent symptoms following coronavirus infection.
“I hope that our research will also further validate the voices of patients and advocacy groups and place a focus on supporting health responses to new and emerging diseases,” he concludes.