Long COVID Syndrome: Risk Factors, Treatment and How to Manage It Based on Study

Researchers at King’s College London published a new study on Wednesday, October 21, about the long COVID syndrome and identified patients who are likely to suffer from it.

The study acquired data came from 4,182 users of COVID Symptom Study app who tested positive for coronavirus. According to a Fox News report, these users continued to log their health status even after their recovery.Commuters wearing protective face masks are seen on board a train, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Athens(Photo : REUTERS/Louiza Vradi)
Commuters wearing protective face masks are seen on board a train, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Athens, Greece, October 24, 2020.

Researchers found that 558 of these COVID-19 patients experienced symptoms including fatigue, dyspnea, and headache for up to 28 days. They study also shows 189 patients suffered for more than eight weeks while the other 95 could still experience symptoms for 12 weeks or longer. However, researchers noted these are just conservative estimates.

What is long COVID and how to manage it?

Patients who already recovered from coronavirus, but still continue to experience various symptoms like chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, or migraines are said to suffer from long COVID. They may also have trouble concentrating and heart symptoms while they also report symptoms returning after their recovery.

Researchers clustered the symptoms of long COVID in two groups. The first group includes respiratory symptoms such as a shortness of breath, cough, headaches, and fatigue. The second was multi-systemic and affects various body parts, including the heart, brain, and gut.University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students study inside The Goat Coffee House as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues(Photo : REUTERS/Bing Guan)
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) students study inside The Goat Coffee House as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, U.S., October 23, 2020.

King’s College London Genetic Epidemiology Professor and COVID Symptom Study lead researcher Tim Spector said in an article posted at King’s College London website that while many people suffer from mild COVID-19, patients can continue to experience one in 50 coronavirus symptoms for more than 12 weeks.

He also said that aside from worrying about the deaths cause by the virus, interventions should also be provided among those who suffer from long COVID. “As we wait for a vaccine, it is vital that we all work together to stem the spread of coronavirus via lifestyle changes and more rigorous self-isolating with symptoms or positive tests,” Spector added.

Read also: Japanese Scientists Develop COVID-19 DNA-Based Vaccine that Will Soon Enter Phase 3 Trial in US

Long COVID risk factors

Among the factors that trigger long COVID include age, weight, gender, and respiratory condition. Primarily, 22% of long COVID patients are over 70 year old, which is more than double of those aged 18 to 49. Also, those with higher average body mass index and women patients have higher risks for long COVID, although younger men may also suffer from it.

Meanwhile, people who have asthma and those who reported to experience various symptoms on the onset of their illness may also develop long Covid. However, researchers found no clear links to other health conditions.

Long COVID recovery and treatment

While the study has not yet been peer-reviewed and published as a preprint on medRxiv, researchers claim to have been able to create model, which can foresee those who are likely to suffer from long COVID and help develop a strategy for early intervention for this syndrome.

“It’s important we use the knowledge we have gained from the first wave in the pandemic to reduce the long-term impact of the second,” said Dr. Claire Steves who is Spector’s co-lead researcher. Steves also said the study could pave to strategies for long COVID prevention and treatment and she urged the public to download to join in the effort of addressing the syndrome.

On October 7, the National Health Service in the U.K. announced that it will provide specialist help for those suffering from long COVID syndrome.

Related article: Facebook Tags Rothschild’s 2015 COVID-19 Test Patent as Fake News, Fact-Checkers Say There’s No Strong Basis

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