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One in eight persons who are infected with coronavirus disease, experience long term symptoms due to Covid-19 infection, according to a new study published in The Lancet journal. The study says that there has been rising concern about the lasting symptoms seen in people with long Covid-19 as more than half a billion coronavirus cases recorded worldwide since the onset of this global pandemic.

During this study, a total of 76,400 adults in the Netherlands were asked to fill out an online questionnaire on 23 common long Covid-19 symptoms. Each participant filled out the questionnaire 24 times between March 2020-August 2021. During this, more than 4,200 people reported catching Covid-19.

Those infected with Covid-19, over 21% patients had at least new or severely increased symptoms three to five months after getting infected. However, only 9% of a control group which did not have Covid reported a similar increase.

The researchers analyzed as many as 23 symptoms which includes headache, dizziness, chest pain, back pain, nausea, painful muscles, difficulties with breathing, feeling hot and cold alternately, tingling extremities, lump in the throat, general tiredness, heavy arms or legs, pain when breathing, runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, wet cough, fever, diarrhoea, stomach pain, ageusia or anosmia, sneezing, and itchy eyes.

Symptoms that were more severe in Covid-19-positive participants 90–150 days after COVID-19 compared with symptom scores before Covid-19 and compared with matched controls (the core symptoms of post-Covid-19 condition).

According to the study, the visual inspection of the core symptoms suggests that in many of these symptoms, including lump in throat, heavy arms or legs, general tiredness, and feeling hot and cold alternately, sex differences were present. It says that the female Covid-19 positive participants showed a longer persistence of increased symptom severity after coronavirus infection than male Covid-19 positive participants. 

A similar pattern was observed in acute symptoms, such as dry cough, stomach pain, and diarrhoea, and in all symptoms that were not significantly increased in severity at 90–150 days after a Covid-19 diagnosis, except for back pain.

In total, it shows that a total of 790 (40.7%) of 1,942 Covid19-positive participants had at least one symptom of moderate severity at 90–150 days, compared with 1,275 (29.3%) of 4,353 controls. Painful muscles and back pain were the most frequent symptoms in both Covid-19 positive participants (13.5% and 10.8%, respectively) and controls (8.7% and 9.5%, respectively). This analysis, however, did not consider symptom severity before Covid-19.

A larger proportion of Covid-19 positive participants had a substantial increase in symptom severity resulting in moderate symptom severity of at least one symptom for 90–150 days after coronavirus diagnosis than control participants during the same period (526 [29.6%] of 1,782 participants v/s 749 [18.1%] of 4,130). 

“Ageusia or anosmia (135 [7.6%] of 1782 participants), painful muscles (130 [7.3%]) and general tiredness (88 [4.9%]) were most frequently increased to moderate severity in Covid-19-positive participants, while they were increased in 17 (0.4%), 134 (3.2%), and 87 (2.1%) control participants, respectively. The prevalence of ageusia or anosmia of increased severity (7.6%) was 19 times greater in Covid-19-positive participants than in controls (0.4%)," the study read.

Notably, this is the first study which is able to identify which persistent symptoms are particularly related to SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to the Lancet journal.












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