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Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus

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Thanks to the dynamism of the medical community, the threat of Covid has been greatly reduced. The global vaccination effort is the clearest illustration of this. Yet why some people are more prone to long Covid – symptoms that stretch on for weeks or months after the initial infection has gone – remains a mystery.

Researchers have come up with various theories that help illuminate our understanding of the phenomenon but it is unclear how common it is and how best to treat it.

A recent study published in the journal Pathogens sought to map out the most prevalent symptoms of long Covid.

“Emerging evidence has shown that COVID-19 survivors could suffer from persistent symptoms,” wrote the study researchers.

“However, it remains unclear whether these symptoms persist over the longer term.”

To plug this gap in knowledge, the researchers “systematically synthesised evidence on post-Covid symptoms persisting for at least 12 months”.

They searched the PubMed and Embase databases for papers reporting at least one-year follow-up results of COVID-19 survivors published by 6 November 2021.

Meta-analyses were conducted to estimate pooled prevalence of specific post-Covid symptoms.

A meta-analysis compares the findings of multiple studies to arrive at a more definitive conclusion.

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Eighteen papers that reported one-year follow-up data from 8,591 COVID-19 survivors were included in the meta-analysis.

What did the researchers find out?

The most prevalent symptoms at one-year follow-up were:

  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Dyspnoea (difficulty breathing)
  • Arthromyalgia (muscular pain associated with a joint)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Insomnia.

“Existing evidence suggested that female patients and those with more severe initial illness were more likely to suffer from the sequelae after one year,” wrote the researchers.

They concluded: “This study demonstrated that a sizeable proportion of COVID-19 survivors still experience residual symptoms involving various body systems one year later.

“There is an urgent need for elucidating the pathophysiologic mechanisms and developing and testing targeted interventions for long-Covid patients.”

How to respond to long Covid symptoms

The NHS says: “Contact a GP if you’re worried about symptoms four weeks or more after having COVID-19.”

According to the health body, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and the impact they’re having on your life.

“They may suggest some tests to find out more about your symptoms and rule out other things that could be causing them.”

These might include:

  • Blood tests
  • Checking your blood pressure and heart rate
  • A chest X-ray.

Treatment options

According to the NHS, your doctor will talk to you about the care and support you might need.

“You may be given advice about how to manage and monitor your symptoms at home, e6376 erythromycin ” explains the health body.

It adds: “If the symptoms are having a big impact on your life, you may be referred to a specialist rehabilitation service or a service that specialises in the specific symptoms you have.”

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