Mon 22 March 2021:
At least one in three patients hospitalised with Covid-19 suffer long-term health issues including multiple organ problems and deteriorated mental health, according to a review of studies looking at the lasting impact of the disease.
Published in the journal Nature Medicine on Monday, the review looked at the frequency of symptoms among Covid “long-haulers”, the most common of which include fatigue, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Authors of the research said the data pointed to an underappreciated health emergency that governments needed to study more closely and find ways to manage.
“Given the millions of people infected by SARS-CoV-2 globally, the long-term cost on physical, cognitive and mental aspects of health still remain to be seen,” lead author Kartik Sehgal, a medical oncologist at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told AFP.
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“We may be capturing only the tip of the iceberg.” While severe Covid-19 infects patients’ lungs — leaving many with long term breathing issues — studies have shown that the virus also attacks other organs, leading to a variety of complications including cardiovascular illness and chronic inflammation.
Sehgal and colleagues reviewed nine long-term studies from Europe, the United States and China and found that several patients reported multiple organ problems months after they were discharged from hospital.
Overall, they found that 30 percent of patients studied reported at least one symptom, such as fatigue, shortness of breath and psychiatric conditions.
One study in Italy of 143 patients found that nearly 90 percent reported lingering symptoms 60 days after they recovered from initial Covid-19 infection.
The most common symptoms were fatigue (53.1 percent), shortness of breath (43.4 percent), joint pain (27.3 percent) and chest pain (21.7 percent).
In total, more than half of patients experienced multiple symptoms two months after leaving hospital.
Three studies from France, Britain and China showed that between 25-30 percent of patients reported sleep disturbances weeks after recovering from Covid-19.
And approximately 20 percent of patients had reported hair loss, according to results from multiple studies.
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