In a study from the University of Missouri and elsewhere, scientists found people experiencing long-lasting effects from COVID-19—known as “long COVID” or post-COVID conditions—are susceptible to developing only 7 health symptoms for up to a year following the infection.
They are fast-beating heart, hair loss, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, joint pain and obesity.
In the study, the team reviewed Oracle Cerner real-world data from electronic medical records containing de-identified information for medical research purposes.
After examining data from a total of 52,461 patients at 122 healthcare facilities across the United States, they selected the top 47 most commonly reported health symptoms from long COVID to examine for this study.
Then, the researchers looked for any comparisons in the reported health symptoms—many also shared by other viral respiratory infections—among people in three different subgroups:
People diagnosed with COVID-19 but without any common viral respiratory infections like influenza or pneumonia
People with common viral respiratory infections but without COVID-19
People without COVID-19 or any other common viral respiratory infections
The team says the findings will provide health care providers with much-needed information about what to ask and look for when visiting with a patient who has symptoms of long COVID.
The study’s results could also benefit researchers examining other aspects of COVID-19, such as the impact of the virus on the brain or the immune system.
The concept of long COVID was developed after clinicians started noticing a group of people who were dubbed “survivors” of COVID-19 were “not necessarily normal anymore.”
The survivors still have symptoms that are at times disabling and preventing them from going back to work or the activities of their daily life.
This is not because the COVID-19 infection is still active, but instead, the infection has caused long-term consequences, or sequelae, in the form of a post-COVID syndrome that could persist for months or even years.
This research was able to identify long-term sequelae that are distinctive to COVID-19 and separate the post-COVID syndrome from other post-viral syndromes.
If you care about COVID, please read studies that vaccines may increase heart disease risk, and this face mask can capture and deactivate COVID-19 virus.
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The study was conducted by Chi-Ren Shyu et al and published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.
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