- A new study has shed light on which early coronavirus symptoms increase the likelihood that a patient will endure lingering symptoms for months after the initial diagnosis.
- Patients with lingering COVID-19 symptoms have been called ‘long haulers.’
- Some common symptoms that do not go away with time include fatigue, a loss of taste and smell, and cognitive issues such as confusion and memory loss.
A new study from researchers in the U.S., the UK, and Sweden suggests that two specific coronavirus symptoms can be an indication that an individual is likely to experience a severe illness. The study, which is in the process of being peer-reviewed, relays that an ongoing fever and a loss of appetite are two early symptoms that put people at risk for developing “long COVID.”
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The study reads in part:
We examined whether there were different types of symptomatology within Long-COVID. We found two main patterns: those reporting exclusively fatigue, headache and upper respiratory complaints (shortness of breath, sore throat, persistent cough and loss of smell) and those with multi-system complaints including ongoing fever and gastroenterological symptoms.
In the individuals with long duration, ongoing fever and skipped meals were strong predictors of a subsequent hospital visit.
Long COVID refers to a situation where coronavirus patients experience lingering symptoms for weeks, and sometimes months, after leaving the hospital and recovering. Some of the more common symptoms that linger on endlessly include fatigue, fever, congestion, loss of taste and smell, and a variety of cognitive issues.
Now that we’re nearly eight months into the pandemic, we’re starting to see a growing number of stories involving otherwise recovered coronavirus patients who can’t concentrate on simple tasks or even walk up the stairs without losing their breath.
The study also found that “age was significantly associated with Long-COVID.” Specifically, the odds of someone experiencing lingering coronavirus symptoms more than doubles in people over the age of 70 when compared to people aged 18-49.
Researchers also discovered that females between the ages of 50 and 60 were most likely to experience lingering coronavirus symptoms. A high body mass index (BMI) was also found to correlate to persistent coronavirus symptoms.
Another interesting tidbit from the study is that there was no significant correlation between comorbidities and long COVID. So while conditions like diabetes and heart disease might make it more likely someone endures severe coronavirus symptoms, it doesn’t impact whether or not they experience lingering symptoms. In fact, the study found that “asthma was the only/unique pre-existing condition providing significant association with long-COVID-19.”
Other early symptoms that the study found were predictors of a patient enduring long COVID include fatigue, headache, a hoarse voice, and muscle aches.
Lastly, recent evidence has shown that coronavirus patients may also experience long-term lung and heart damage months after making an otherwise full recovery.