Covid: The two ‘top’ symptoms lingering for four months in nearly 70% of cases – new data
Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children
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Researchers are slowly closing in on the complications of long Covid, which is seemingly affecting a growing number of people in the UK. The Whys and Hows of the syndrome, however, remain under investigation. A new study, however, has elucidated some of the risks and effects of Long Covid, revealing which two complications are most likely to linger. According to the findings, fatigue and headaches persist for at least four months in nearly 70 percent of infections.
According to investigators at the Medical College of Georgia investigators, the new findings confirm that the two symptoms are among the “top lingering symptoms months after Covid.”
The results support growing evidence that there are chronic neuropsychiatric symptoms following COVID-19 infections.
Doctor Elizabeth Rutkwosky, MCG neurologist and the study’s corresponding author, said: “There are a lot of symptoms that we did not know early on in the pandemic what to make of them, but now it’s clear there is a long COVID syndrome and that a lot of people are affected.”
Based on the new scientific findings, the researchers reported that fatigue and headache are the most common symptoms reported by individuals for more than four months of having COVID-19.
A potential explanation for the persistence of fatigue is the raised levels of inflammation in the body, a natural response to infection.
An analysis of blood samples revealed that in some individuals, inflammatory markers are up in the days following infection, and remain elevated.
This suggests that although the antibody response to the virus may itself wain, ongoing inflammation may contribute to the persistence of certain symptoms.
The findings were drawn from a study of the first 200 patients enrolled in the COVID-19 Neurological and Molecule Prospective Cohort Study.
All patients were recruited on average about 125 days after testing positive for the virus.
According to the findings, eighty percent of the first 100 participants reported neurological symptoms.
Fatigue, which was the most common, was reported by 68.5 percent of the respondents, followed closely by headache, reported by 66.5 percent of respondents.
Miss Rutwoski noted: “They have body fatigue where they feel short of breath, they go to get the dishes done and they are feeling palpitations, they immediately have to sit down and they feel muscle soreness like they just ran a mile or more.
“There is probably some degree of neurologic fatigue as well because patients also have brain fog, they say it hurts to think, to read even a single email and that their brain is just wiped out.”
Some studies have suggested a shrinkage of brain volume is apparent in some patients, offering another potential explanation for the above symptoms.
What’s more, a quarter of respondents met the criteria for further complications like depression, diabetes, obesity, and sleep apnea.
Another 21 percent of respondents reportedly suffered from ongoing confusion.
The most common medical condition reported by participants in addition to their COVID-19 case was hypertension.
While the study did confirm smell and taste impairment was a major characteristic of the virus, there were discrepancies between the patients’ reports and objective testing of the senses.
For instance, a higher percentage of individuals who did not report changes in smell or taste actually had evidence of impaired function based on objective measures.
This could be explained by the fact that there may be changes in the quality of their taste and smell, rather than pure impaired ability, noted Rutwoski.
She added: “They eat a chicken sandwich and it tastes like smoke or candles or some weird other thing but our taste strips are trying to depict specific tastes like salty and sweet.”
The study authors noted that the findings might be somewhat biased towards a higher percentage of ongoing symptoms because the study is likely to attract a high percentage of individuals with concerns about ongoing problems.
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