Scientists narrow down long Covid symptoms to just 7 – do you recognise the signs? | The SunFebruary 2, 2023
MOST people who catch Covid will recover in a few days.
But for some, they have been left with long term symptoms that can make daily life a struggle.
More than a million Brits report long Covid a year after infection, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) previously showed.
Medics previously warned that the list of symptoms of the ailment could be as long as 62 – with those affected suffering issues such as hair loss and even reduced libido.
Now experts in the US say they have narrowed this list down to just seven symptoms.
Writing in the Open Forum Infectious Disease, they looked at over 17,000 patients diagnosed with Covid across 112 healthcare facilities.
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They found that the seven most reported ongoing issues were:
- hair loss
- joint pain
- chest pain
- shortness of breath (dyspnea)
Chi-Ren Shyu, the director of the MU Institute for Data Science and Informatics said the research will help medical professionals understand the condition.
"Despite an overwhelming number of long Covid symptoms previously reported by other studies, we only found a few symptoms specifically related to an infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
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"Before we examined the data, I thought we would find an ample amount of the symptoms to be specifically associated with long Covid, but that wasn’t the case."
"Now, researchers will be able to better understand how SARS-CoV-2 may mutate or evolve by creating new connections that we may not have known about before.
"Going forward we can use electronic medical records to quickly detect subgroups of patients who may have these long-term health conditions," Shyu added.
A previous study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) also found that most long Covid symptoms develop after mild infection.
However, experts said while they linger for several months, they eventually go away within a year.
Another study, published in Nature Journal, identified key groups and behaviours that put people at increased risk of developing long Covid.
They suggested that younger people, women and those from a black, mixed or other ethnic group were at greater risk of having long Covid after contracting the virus.
People from poorer backgrounds, smokers and people who were overweight or obese were also linked with reporting persistent symptoms.
Meanwhile, experts have warned warned that some people who have long Covid are coming down with interstitial lung disease (ILD).
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In its most severe form – the illness is fatal without the patient having to have a lung transplant.
ILD is a group of disorders that cause inflammation and make it hard for the lungs to get enough oxygen.
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