One in eight adults (12.7%) infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience long-term symptoms due to Covid-19, suggests a large Dutch study published in The Lancet. The study provides one of the first comparisons of long-term symptoms following SARS-CoV-2 infection (often referred to as “long covid”) with symptoms in an uninfected population, as well as measuring symptoms in individuals both before and after covid-19 infection. The inclusion of uninfected populations allows a more accurate prediction of the prevalence of long-term covid-19 symptoms, as well as a better identification of the main symptoms of long-term covid. “There is an urgent need for data to inform the scale and extent of long-term symptoms experienced by some patients following COVID-19 illness,” says Professor Judith Rosmalen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and lead author of the study. “However, most previous research on prolonged covid has not looked at the frequency of these symptoms in people who have not been diagnosed with covid-19 or looked at individual patient symptoms prior to covid-19 diagnosis.” . Pain, loss of taste or other symptoms Their study examines the symptoms most frequently associated with long-term covid, including respiratory 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 pre-existing symptoms and symptoms in uninfected people to offer an improved working definition for long COVID-19 and to provide a reliable estimate of the probability that long COVID-19 will occur in the general population,” she notes. In this new study conducted in the Netherlands, researchers collected data by asking participants in the population-based Lifelines covid-19 cohort to regularly fill out digital questionnaires about 23 symptoms commonly associated with long-term covid. 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 participants, 4,231 (5.5%) who had COVID-19 were matched with 8,462 controls based on gender, age, and when they completed questionnaires indicating a COVID-19 diagnosis. The researchers found that several symptoms were new or more severe three to five months after having COVID-19, compared with symptoms prior to COVID-19 diagnosis and with the control group, suggesting that these symptoms may be considered the core symptoms of long covid. The main symptoms recorded were chest pain, shortness of breath, pain when breathing, sore muscles, loss of taste and/or smell, tingling in the hands/feet, a lump in the throat, feeling hot and cold alternately, heaviness in the arms and/or legs and general tiredness. The severity of these symptoms stabilized three months after infection, with no further decline. Other symptoms that did not significantly increase between three and five months after the covid-19 diagnosis were headache, itchy eyes, dizziness, back pain and nausea. PhD candidate and study first author Aranka Ballering explains: “These core symptoms have important implications for future research, as these symptoms can be used to distinguish between post-Covid-19 condition and non-Covid-related symptoms. -19”. Of the study participants who had submitted data on pre-COVID symptoms, the researchers found that 21.4% (381/1,782) of COVID-19 positive participants, compared to 8.7% (361/4,130) from the control group, experienced at least an increase in central symptoms of moderate severity 3 months or more after SARs-CoV-2 infection. This implies that in 12.7% of covid-19 patients their new or severely increased symptoms three months after covid can be attributed to SARS-CoV-2 infection. “By looking at symptoms in an uninfected control group and in individuals both before and after SARS-CoV-2 infection, we were able to account for symptoms that might have resulted from non-infectious health aspects of the pandemic, such as stress caused by restrictions and uncertainty. As he points out, “post-covid-19 disease, also known as long covid, is an urgent problem with an increasing number of human victims. Understanding the main symptoms and the prevalence of post-covid-19 in the general population represents a major step forward in our ability to design studies that may ultimately inform successful healthcare responses to long-term symptoms of COVID-19.” Mental health symptoms Professor Judith Rosmalen says: “Future research should include mental health symptoms (for example, symptoms of depression and anxiety), along with other post-infectious symptoms that we were unable to assess in this study (such as brain fog). , insomnia, and post-performance malaise). “We were unable to investigate what might cause any of the symptoms seen after Covid-19 in this study, but we hope that future research may provide insight into the mechanisms involved. Also, due to the timing of this study, we are not We were able to assess the effect of vaccination against covid-19 and the different variants of SARS-CoV-2 on the symptoms of prolonged covid. We hope that future studies will provide answers on the impact of these factors.” WhatsAppFacebookTwitterLinkedin
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