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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 11, 2024  1 month, 1 week, 3 days, 9 hours, 14 minutes ago

COVID-19 News: Study Finds That All Exposed To The SARS-CoV-2 Virus Are At Risk Of Various Digestive Diseases!

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COVID-19 News: Study Finds That All Exposed To The SARS-CoV-2 Virus Are At Risk Of Various Digestive Diseases!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 11, 2024  1 month, 1 week, 3 days, 9 hours, 14 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: The global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to public health, with the aftermath of the virus proving to be as intricate as the acute phase. As we transition into the post-pandemic era, a research study conducted by Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, delves into the intricate landscape of long-term risks associated with digestive diseases following exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

SARS-CoV-2 ultimately causes various gastrointestinal issues in all exposed to it.
 Leveraging data from the UK Biobank, this large-scale retrospective cohort study sheds light on the multifaceted relationship between COVID-19 and various digestive system disorders. The findings not only contribute to our understanding of the persistent consequences of COVID-19 but also underscore the imperative need for tailored follow-up strategies.
Thailand medical News in our previous COVID-19 News coverages had already warned based on study findings that SARS-CoV-2 could cause GERD, liver and pancreas issues, diverticulitis, gall bladder and spleen issues etc. -of-irritable-bowel-syndrome-in-post-covid-phase,-providing-an-explanation-for-gastrointestinal-manifestations,-reported-case-of-bowel-perforation,-a-condition-never-seen-in-early-stages-of-the-pandemic,-often-leading-to-sepsis-and-
The prolonged symptoms experienced by some COVID-19 survivors, often termed as long COVID, have become a subject of growing concern in the medical community. While the acute phase of the disease primarily targets the respiratory system, emerging evidence suggests that the aftermath can affect multiple organ systems, including the cardiovascular, renal, and digestive systems. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long COVID encompasses a spectrum of ongoing health problems that individuals infected with COVID-19 may experience even after their initial recovery.
The post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, particularly its impact on digestive health, have been relatively underexplored. Early in the pandemic, gastrointestinal symptoms were noted in a subset of patients during the acute phase, with reported prevalence rates of up to 9.8%. These symptoms included diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain, highlighting the virus's ability to affect the digestive tract. However, the long-term risks of developing digestive diseases in the aftermath of COVID-19 have remained elusive.
Several limitations have hindered previous studies on this subject. These include small sample sizes, short-term follow-up, and a notable sex-selective bias. To address these shortcomings, the present study utilized the UK Biobank, providing a more balanced representation of both male and female participants and facilitating a more comprehensive analysis of the long-term risks associated with digestive diseases following COVID-19.
Methods and Results
The large-scale retrospective cohort study incorporated a follow-up period of up to 2.6 years, involving three distinct groups: the COVID-19 group (n = 112,311), the contemporary comparison group (n = 359,671), and the historical comparison group (n = 370,979). The digestive outcomes were defined as diagnoses occurring 30 days or more after the onset of COVID-19 infection or the index date.

Utilizing hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI), the study examined the risks of various digestive diseases, including gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction, peptic ulcer disease (PUD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallbladder disease, severe liver disease, non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD), and pancreatic disease.
The results revealed that, compared to the contemporary comparison group, individuals with a history of COVID-19 had significantly higher risks across several digestive diseases.
Notably, the risks of GERD increased in a stepwise fashion with the severity of the acute phase of COVID-19 infection. Even after a 1-year follow-up, both GERD and GI dysfunction continued to pose risks to COVID-19 patients. Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 was associated with a higher risk of pancreatic diseases. Importantly, the consistency of results was maintained when the historical cohort was used as the comparison group.
Implications of Findings
The study's findings contribute significantly to our understanding of the long-term consequences of COVID-19 on the digestive system. The association between COVID-19 and heightened risks of GI dysfunction, GERD, and other digestive system ailments underscores the need for sustained attention to post-acute complications. Moreover, the risks were evident even in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, emphasizing the broad impact of the virus on digestive health.
Key Findings:
-Association with Digestive Diseases: COVID-19 is significantly associated with a heightened long-term risk of various digestive system diseases, including GI dysfunction, GERD, and more.
-Generalizability and Inclusion: The inclusion of both male and female participants in the UK Biobank cohort enhances the generalizability of the study compared to previous research with sex-selective biases.
-Risk in Non-Hospitalized Cases: Individuals with mild COVID-19 symptoms, not requiring hospitalization, face elevated risks of GI dysfunction, PUD, GERD, and NAFLD.
-Severity Impact: The severity of COVID-19 is linked to an increased risk of developing GERD, emphasizing the need for tailored healthcare strategies across different degrees of severity.
-Prolonged Impacts: Risks of GI dysfunction and GERD persist beyond 1-year follow-up, highlighting the long-term effects of COVID-19 on specific digestive disorders.
-Reinfection Risks: Individuals with SARS-CoV-2 reinfection exhibit a significant increase in the long-term risk of developing pancreatic diseases.
Study Strengths
While the precise mechanisms linking COVID-19 to digestive diseases remain elusive, several possibilities have been proposed. These include fecal-oral transmission, interactions with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, and the role of inflammatory markers and cytokines. The study's strengths lie in its extended follow-up period, nationwide representation, comprehensive comparison groups, and subgroup analyses, which contribute to the validity and reliability of the findings.
In conclusion, this population-based cohort study unravels the enduring risks of digestive diseases following COVID-19. The findings emphasize the necessity for long-term care, management, and tailored follow-up strategies for individuals who have faced the virus. Comprehensive awareness of the varying risks over time is crucial for developing appropriate healthcare strategies during the post-acute phase and ensuring effective long-term clinical follow-up post-recovery. As we continue to grapple with the far-reaching consequences of the pandemic, this research serves as a valuable guide for healthcare practitioners and policymakers in addressing the complex aftermath of COVID-19.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: BMC Medicine.
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