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Source: Medical News - Long COVID Research  Aug 13, 2022  1 month ago
New British Study Shows That Sexual Dysfunction And Hair Loss Are Joining Fatigue And Brain Fog As Leading Long COVID Issues.
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New British Study Shows That Sexual Dysfunction And Hair Loss Are Joining Fatigue And Brain Fog As Leading Long COVID Issues.
Source: Medical News - Long COVID Research  Aug 13, 2022  1 month ago
Long COVID Research: A new study lead by researchers from the University of Birmingham-UK has found that sexual dysfunction and hair loss is joining fatigue and brain fog as leading Long COVID issues.


 
SARS-CoV-2 infections are associated with a range of persistent symptoms impacting everyday functioning, known as post-COVID-19 condition or long COVID.
 
The Long COVID Research study team undertook a retrospective matched cohort study using a UK-based primary care database, Clinical Practice Research Datalink Aurum, to determine symptoms that are associated with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection beyond 12 weeks in non-hospitalized adults and the risk factors associated with developing persistent symptoms.
 
The study team selected 486,149 adults with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and 1,944,580 propensity score-matched adults with no recorded evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Outcomes included 115 individual symptoms, as well as long COVID, defined as a composite outcome of 33 symptoms by the World Health Organization clinical case definition. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for the outcomes.
 
A total of 62 symptoms were significantly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection after 12 weeks.
 
Interestingly, the largest aHRs were for anosmia (aHR 6.49, 95% CI 5.02–8.39), hair loss (3.99, 3.63–4.39), sneezing (2.77, 1.40–5.50), ejaculation difficulty (2.63, 1.61–4.28) and reduced libido (2.36, 1.61–3.47).
 
Among the cohort of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, risk factors for long COVID included female sex, belonging to an ethnic minority, socioeconomic deprivation, smoking, obesity and a wide range of comorbidities. The risk of developing long COVID was also found to be increased along a gradient of decreasing age. SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with a plethora of symptoms that are associated with a range of sociodemographic and clinical risk factors.
 
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Nature Medicine. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01909-w
 
The detailed analysis of health records from more than 2.4 million individuals in the United Kingdom suggest that 61 symptoms are part of wider Long COVID experience, and that certain key demographic groups more at risk.
 
Importantly, Long COVID sufferers have experienced a wider set of symptoms than previously thought, new research has found. These symptoms include hair loss and sexual dysfunction.
 
The anonymized electronic health records of about 2.4 million individuals in the UK were analyzed by researchers from the University of Birmingham alongside a team of clinicians and researchers across England. The study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research and UK Research and Innovation.
 
The health data taken between January 2020 and April 2021 comprised 486,149 individuals with prior infection, and 1.9 million individuals with no indication of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection after matching for other clinical diagnoses.
 
Senior author Dr Shamil Haroon, an Associate C linical Professor at the Institute of Applied Health Research-University of Birmingham told Thailand Medical News, “This study validates what patients have been telling clinicians and policy makers throughout the pandemic, that the symptoms of Long COVID are extremely broad and cannot be fully accounted for by other factors such as lifestyle risk factors or chronic health conditions.”
 
Utilizing only non-hospitalized patients, the study team was able to identify three categories of distinct symptoms reported by individuals with persistent health problems after infection.
 
While patterns of symptoms tended to be grouped into respiratory issues, mental health and cognitive problems, others were either unique or stood out by themselves.
 
Although the most common symptoms include anosmia (loss of sense of smell), chest pain, shortness of breath, and fever; other commonly reported symptoms included nausea and vomiting, fever, erectile dysfunction, bowel incontinence, anhedonia (lack of enjoyment) and also limb swelling.
 
Professor Haroon added, “The symptoms we identified should help clinicians and clinical guideline developers to improve the assessment of patients with long-term effects from Covid-19, and to subsequently consider how this symptom burden can be best managed.”
 
Co-author of this study and patient partner added, “This study is instrumental in creating and adding further value to understanding the complexity and pathology of long COVID. It highlights the degree and diversity of expression of symptoms between different clusters. Patients with pre-existing health conditions will also welcome the additional analysis on risk factors.”
 
Besides identifying a wider set of symptoms, the study team also found key demographic groups and behaviors which put people at increased risk of developing Long COVID.
 
The research findings indicate that females, younger people; or belonging to a black, mixed or other ethnic group are at greater risk of developing Long COVID.
 
Furthermore, individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds, people who are overweight or obese, smokers, as well as the presence of a wide range of health conditions were associated with reporting persistent symptoms.
 
Lead author of the paper Dr Anuradhaa Subramanian, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Applied Health Research-University of Birmingham added, “Our study data analyses of risk factors are of particular interest because it helps us to consider what could potentially be causing or contributing to Long COVID. We already know that certain modifiable traits such as smoking and obesity put individuals at increased risk of various diseases and conditions, including Long COVID. However, others such as biological sex and ethnicity also appear to be important.”
 
Dr Subramanian further added, “Women are for example more likely to experience autoimmune diseases. Seeing the increased likelihood of women having Long COVID in our study increases our interest in investigating whether autoimmunity or other causes may explain the increased risk in women. These observations will help to further narrow the focus on factors to investigate that may be causing these persistent symptoms after an infection, and how we can help patients who are experiencing them.”
 
The patient records of more than 2.4 million individuals enabled the study team to capture post-SARS-CoV-2 infections at a unique point in the global pandemic.
 
The research focuses on the first phase of the pandemic in the UK between January 2020 and April 2021 and provided the scientists with an opportunity to compare significant numbers of individuals who had SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections alongside a control group of uninfected individuals.
 
The study team included epidemiologists, clinicians, data scientists, statisticians, and patients to decode electronic health records to capture persistent symptoms experienced after infection accurately.
 
Professor Haroon added, “The study findings are both a testament to the opportunities that these public health datasets provide, and to the power of collaborative work to provide much needed evidence around the experiences of many people who have been affected by persistent symptoms after infection with the coronavirus. I hope our research will also further validate the voices of patients and involvement groups and provide an approach to support healthcare responses to new and emerging diseases.”
 
Long COVID is expected to cause the next global healthcare crisis as to date, it is estimated that more than half of the world population has already been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and with more transmissible and immune evasive variants emerging and spreading in non-stop surges, not only are more individuals likely to get infected with the disease but many will also keep on getting re-infected with mounting health issues arising . Viral persistence which the newer variants are even better evolved for will also be a contributing factor to long term health issues as a result of COVID-19 infections.
 
For the latest Long COVID Research, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.
 

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