Covid-19 survivors are Sick
At least one in three patients hospitalised with Covid-19 suffer long-term health issues including multiple organ problems and deteriorated mental health, according to a review of studies looking at the lasting impact of the disease.
Published in the journal Nature Medicine on Monday, the review looked at the frequency of symptoms among Covid “long-haulers”,
the most common of which include fatigue, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Authors of the research says the data points to an underappreciated health emergency that governments needs to study.
“Given the millions of people infected by SARS-CoV-2 globally, the long-term cost on physical, cognitive and mental aspects of health still remain to be seen,” lead author Kartik Sehgal, a medical oncologist at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told AFP.
We Maybe Capturing Only The Tips Of The Iceberg
While severe Covid-19 infects patients’ lungs — leaving many with long term breathing issues — studies have shown that the virus also attacks other organs, leading to a variety of complications including cardiovascular illness and chronic inflammation.
Sehgal and colleagues nine long-term studies from Europe shows, US and China and found several patients with multiple organ problems months after discharging from hospital.
Overall, they found that 30 percent of patients studied reports one symptom, like fatigue, shortness of breath and psychiatric conditions.
One study in Italy of 143 patients found that 90% reported lingering symptoms 60 days after they recovered from Covid-19.
The symptoms were fatigue (53.1 percent), shortness of breath (43.4 percent), joint pain (27.3 percent) and chest pain (21.7 percent).
In total, more than half of patients experienced multiple symptoms two months after leaving hospital.
Three studies from France, Britain and China showed that 25-30 percent of patients reported insomnia weeks after recovering from Covid-19.
And approximately 20 percent of patients had reported hair loss, according to results from multiple studies.
The results regarding mental health were perhaps equally concerning
Medical Needs Don’t Stop. Covid-19 survivors are Sick
Amongst 402 survivors in Italy 56 percent tested positive for one psychiatric condition such as PTSD, depression or anxiety.
The authors said that around 30 percent of patients had developed PTSD after being hospitalised with Covid-19.
“It is important to not forget about the mental health effects of long-Covid-19, while taking care of the physical symptoms, as they can be easily missed,” said Sehgal, who is also an instructor at Harvard Medical School.
The researchers called for further investigation into long-Covid, and the wider establishment of clinics to treat people with life-altering symptoms.
Sehgal said he hoped the research showed that simply surviving Covid-19 is not necessarily a satisfactory health outcome.
“Although preventing deaths remains the most important goal, it is also important to recognise the multi-organ morbidity of COVID-19,”
“The medical needs of patients with COVID-19 don’t stop at the time of hospital discharge