Fatigue, headache among top lingering long COVID symptoms

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Scientists from the Medical College of Georgia found fatigue and headache were the most common symptoms more than four months after COVID-19 infection.

Muscle aches, cough, changes in smell and taste, fever, chills and nasal congestion were next in the long line of lingering symptoms.

The results support the growing evidence that there are chronic neuropsychiatric symptoms following COVID-19 infections.

In the study, the team tested 200 patients enrolled in the COVID-19 Neurological and Molecular Prospective Cohort Study in Georgia, who were recruited on average about 125 days after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Eighty percent of the first 200 participants reported brain problems with fatigue, the most common symptom, reported by 68.5%, and headache close behind at 66.5%.

Just over half reported changes in smell (54.5%) and taste (54%) and nearly half the participants (47%) met the criteria for mild cognitive impairment, with 30% demonstrating impaired vocabulary and 32% having impaired working memory.

Twenty-one percent reported confusion, and hypertension was the most common medical condition reported by participants in addition to their bout with COVID-19.

No participants reported having a stroke, weakness or inability to control muscles involved with speaking, and coordination problems were some of the less frequently reported symptoms.

Twenty-five percent met the criteria for depression, and diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea and a history of depression were associated with those who met the criteria.

Anemia and a history of depression were associated with the 18% who met the objective criteria for anxiety.

The findings suggest a persistent loss of taste and smell following COVID-19.

A reason fatigue appears to be such a major factor among those who had COVID-19 is potential because levels of inflammation, the body’s natural response to an infection, remain elevated in some individuals.

These findings and others indicate that even though the antibodies to the virus itself may wain, persistent inflammation is contributing to some of the symptoms like fatigue.

The team also found participants who reported more symptoms and problems tended to have depression and anxiety.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about how COVID-19 is linked to diabetes, and CBD from cannabis may inhibit COVID-19.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about the key to preventing and treating severe COVID-19, and results showing how having had COVID-19 may harm your cognitive abilities.

The research was published in Brain, Behavior, & Immunity and conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Rutkowski et al.

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