University of Birmingham Study Shows That Individuals Likely To End Up With Long COVID If They Exhibit 5 or More Symptoms In First Week Of Infection
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Birmingham indicates that individuals who exhibit 5 or more symptoms during the first week of a SARS-CoV-2 infection are most likely to develop Long COVID.
Note: Not only adults can get Long COVID, lots of children are now
being discovered to suffer from Long COVID as well and special
attention are needed for them.
Worldwide, there are now over 190 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 4 million deaths.
Although the majority of infected individuals ‘recover’, a significant proportion continues to experience symptoms and complications after their acute illness.
Individuals with ‘Long COVID
’ experience a wide range of physical and mental/psychological symptoms. Pooled prevalence data showed the 10 most prevalent reported symptoms were fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, cough, chest pain, altered smell, altered taste and diarrhoea. Other common symptoms were cognitive impairment, memory loss, anxiety and sleep disorders. Beyond symptoms and complications, individuals with long COVID often reported impaired quality of life, mental health and employment issues. These individuals may require multidisciplinary care involving the long-term monitoring of symptoms, to identify potential complications, physical rehabilitation, mental health and social services support. Resilient healthcare systems are needed to ensure efficient and effective responses to future health challenges.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/01410768211032850
The study team concluded that the presence of more than five symptoms of COVID-19 in the first week of infection is significantly associated with the development of long COVID, irrespective of age or gender.
The study findings summarize current research on symptom prevalence, complications and management of long COVID.
Pooled prevalence data in the review highlights the ten most common symptoms of long COVID. These are fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, cough, headache, joint pain, chest pain, altered smell, diarrhea and altered taste.
The study team identified two main symptom clusters of long COVID: those comprising exclusively of fatigue, headache and upper respiratory complaints; and those with multi-system complaints including ongoing fever and gastroenterological symptoms.
Dr Olalekan Lee Aiyegbusi, lead author and Deputy Director at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research (CPROR) told Thailand Medical News, “There is evidence that the impact of acute COVID-19 on patients, regardless of severity, extends beyond hospitalization in the most severe cases, to ongoing impaired quality of life, mental health and employment issues. People living with long COVID generally feel abandoned and dismissed by healthcare providers and receive limited or conflicting advice.”
Dr Aiyegbusi added, More than one-third of the patients in one of the studies included in the r
eview reported they still felt ill or in a worse clinical condition at eight weeks than at the onset of COVID-19.”
Clinical Lecturer in Primary Care and co-principal investigator of the University of Birmingham NIHR/UKRI funded TLC Study, Dr Shamil Haroon, further commented, “Neither the biological or immunological mechanisms of long COVID, nor the rationale for why certain people are more susceptible to these effects, are yet clear, limiting development of therapies. It is essential we act quickly to address these issues.”
Alarmingly in a comparison with other coronaviruses, the study team suggest that in the longer term, patients with long COVID may also experience a similar disease trajectory to that of patients who had SARS or MERS, pointing to analysis showing that six months after hospital discharge, approximately 25% of patients hospitalized with SARS and MERS had reduced lung function and exercise capacity.
The research’s co-principal investigator Dr Melanie Calvert, Professor of Outcomes Methodology at the University of Birmingham and NIHR Senior Investigator, added, “The wide range of potential symptoms and complications patients with long COVID may experience highlights the need for a deeper understanding of the clinical course of the condition. There is an urgent need for better, more integrated care models to support and manage patients with long COVID to improve clinical outcomes. Resilient healthcare systems are required to ensure efficient and effective responses to future health challenges.”
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