COVID-19 leaves long-term effect in one-third of affected: Oxford study

The increasing level of burnout seems to be a direct result of problems worsened by Covid-19 | Photo - Twitter/SaraJ_Coaching

Over a third of COVID-19 patients faced at least one symptom that lasted for a long time after they recovered from the coronavirus disease, a study has reported.

The study from Oxford University and the National Institute for Health Research investigated symptoms in over 2,70,000 people who had recovered from COVID-19.

It found that 37 per cent of patients were affected by one symptom for three months to six months after they recovered from the disease.

Breathing problems were found to have affected the most people for long periods of time. Patients also complained of fatigue, depression, anxiety, abdominal pain, headache and cognitive problems such as brain fogging, the University of Oxford said.

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Long COVID symptoms were more frequent in those who had been hospitalised, and they were slightly more common in women, the study said.

Also read: Dry itchy mouth? Can be new COVID symptom

It also noted that age, gender and severity of the coronavirus infection affected the presence of these symptoms.

It however did not give any details of the causes of the symptoms, their severity or how long they could last.

Older people and men complained of breathing difficulties and cognitive problems, whereas younger people and women reported headaches, abdominal symptoms and anxiety or depression.

“The results confirm that a significant proportion of people, of all ages, can be affected by a range of symptoms and difficulties in the six months after COVID-19 infection. These data complement findings from self-report surveys, and show that clinicians are diagnosing patients with these symptoms,” Dr. Max Taquet, NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow, who led the analyses, said.

“We need to identify the mechanisms underlying the diverse symptoms that can affect survivors,” said Oxford University Professor Paul Harrison, who headed the study.

“This information will be essential if the long-term health consequences of COVID-19 are to be prevented or treated effectively,” Professor Harrison added.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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