Persistent Covid in one in eight affected by covid

One in eight adults who has the coronavirus suffers persistent covid symptoms. This is the conclusion of a large study conducted in the Netherlands published by the journal The Lancet and that it was carried out during the first waves of Covid-19 in Europe, between March 2020 and August 2021.

Specifically, as stated in the study, approximately one 12.7% of people who contracted the disease in said country had at least oneno persistent covid symptoms up to eight months later.

The study difference with the precedents, underline the authors, it is that they took into account prevalence of these symptoms in people who have not contracted Covid, to exclude other causes linked to the pandemic, such as stress, or the effect of seasonality.

“We urgently need data. to determine the extent of long-lasting Covid-19 symptoms,” says Professor Judith Rosmalen of the University of Groningen, who led the study. “However, most research has not compared the frequency of these symptoms in people who have not had Covid, they have not focused on specific cases either, ”he appreciates.

Definition of “improved” persistent covid

The study also examines the symptoms more frequently associated with persistent covid, including breathing problems, fatigue, and loss of taste and/or smell, both before the diagnosis of covid-19 and in people who have not been diagnosed with it.

“This method allows us to take into account the pre-existing symptoms and symptoms in uninfected people to offer an improved working definition of persistent covid and to provide a reliable estimate of the likelihood of longcovid occurring in the general population.

Researchers collected data by asking participants in the population-based Lifelines Covid-19 cohort to regularly fill out digital questionnaires on 23 commonly associated symptoms to Covid-19.

What were the most common symptoms?

Most of the data was collected before the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine in the Netherlands, so the number of vaccinated participants was too small to analyze in this study. Of the 76,422 attendees4,231 (5.5%) who had Covid-19 were matched with 8,462 controls taking into account gender, age and when they completed questionnaires indicating a diagnosis of Covid-19.

The researchers found that several symptoms were new or more severe three to five months later of having Covid-19, compared to symptoms prior to diagnosis of Covid-19 and the control group, suggesting that these symptoms can be considered the main symptoms of persistent covid.

The bone main symptoms chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in breathing, muscle aches, loss of taste and/or smell, tingling in the hands/feet, lump in the throat, alternating hot and cold feeling, heaviness in the arms and/or legs and general fatigue. The severity of these symptoms stabilized three months after infection, without further decline.

Other symptoms that did not increase significantly between three and five months after the diagnosis of Covid-19 were headaches, itchy eyes, dizziness, back pain and nausea.

Distinction with pre-covid symptoms

The study’s first author, Aranka Ballering, explains that “these core symptoms have important implications for future research, as these symptoms can be used to distinguish between post-Covid-19 status and non-Covid-19 related symptoms”.

Among study participants who had submitted data on pre-covid symptoms, researchers found that 21.4% (381/1,782) of positive participants, compared to 8.7% (361/4,130) of the control group, experienced at least an increase in major symptoms of moderate severity 3 months or longer after infection with SARs-CoV-2. This implies that in 12.7% of patients with Covid-19, their new or severely increased symptoms three months after Covid can be attributed to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“By examining symptoms in an uninfected control group and in individuals before and after SARS-CoV-2 infection, we were able consider symptoms that could have resulted from non-infectious health conditions of the pandemic, such as the stress caused by restrictions and uncertainty.

According to the researcher, persistent covid is a urgent problem with an increasing number of human victims. Understanding the main symptoms and prevalence of post-Covid in the general population represents a major advance in our ability to design studies that can ultimately inform the successful health responses long-term symptoms.

Studying mental health, an outstanding task

For her part, Professor Judith Rosmalen asserts that “the future research should include mental health symptoms (eg, symptoms of depression and anxiety), as well as other post-infectious symptoms that we could not assess in this study (such as brain fog, insomnia, and post-performance malaise ).”

“We were unable to investigate what might be causing any of the symptoms seen after Covid in this study, but we hope that future research can provide insight into the mechanisms involved. Additionally, due to the At the time of this study, we have not been able to assess the effect of vaccination against Covid-19 and the different variants of SARS-CoV-2 on the symptoms of persistent covid. We hope that future studies will provide answers on the impact of these factors.

Although it may contain statements, data, or notes from healthcare institutions or professionals, the information in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend that the reader consult a healthcare practitioner with any health-related questions.

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