7 in 10 Covid-19 patients experience symptoms lingering for months: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 26, 2021

Those with the most severe symptoms lingering for months were middle-aged white women with two or more co-morbidities, such as asthma or diabetes, the study observed

A new study carried out by researchers in the United Kingdom stated that patients continue to experience negative outcomes of Covid-19 infection that affect their physical and mental well-being.

The study, led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), found that the majority of individuals hospitalised with the coronavirus infection (Covid-19) did not fully recover even five months after they were discharged.

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For the study, the researchers analysed 1,077 Covid-19 patients who were discharged from hospitals between March and November 2020.

The findings of the study found that only 29 per cent of the participants felt fully recovered at follow-up after five months, while 20 per cent reported a new disability.

The study also observed that those who had the most severe symptoms lingering for months were middle-aged white women with two or more co-morbidities, such as asthma or diabetes.

As per the study, over 25 per cent of participants demonstrated clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and depression, while 12 per cent demonstrated symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

One of the authors, Dr. Rachael Evans, a respiratory consultant at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “Our results show a large burden of symptoms, mental and physical health problems and evidence of organ damage five months after discharge with Covid-19.”

“It is also clear that those who required mechanical ventilation and were admitted to intensive care take longer to recover,” she added.

The researchers made four cohorts to analyse participants’ mental and physical health impairments. One of the groups showed impaired cognitive function, which has colloquially been called ‘brain fog’, the study said.

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The researchers suggested a different underlying mechanism for the ‘brain fog’ compared to other symptoms as cognitive impairment. They defined it as “striking even when taking education levels into account.” Researchers also found that each participant had an average of nine persistent symptoms.

These included muscle pain, fatigue, physical slowing down, impaired sleep quality, joint pain or swelling, limb weakness, breathlessness, pain, short-term memory loss, and slowed thinking.

The study was published in the journal of Leicester Biomedical Research Centre.

Published on March 26, 2021

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