What you didn’t know about long covid
It has been months since you were discharged from Covid, and you still feel unwell! Many people continue having Covid symptoms for long periods of time (weeks, even months). This phenomenon is what experts call “Long Covid”. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates about 1.5 million people in the UK have this condition. But what is long Covid? and how do I know if I have it?
In this blog, we would like to answer the most frequently asked questions about it, but don’t forget to visit your GP if you feel sick or with prolonged symptoms.
What is Long Covid?
There is not an exact definition for it. Actually, experts around the world don’t agree yet about how common it is or its main symptoms (because each case is different). However, UK health experts refer to it as a condition in which symptoms last more than 12 weeks and there is not another cause for them.
What symptoms long Covid patients show?
According studies made by the Welcome Center for Integrative Neuroimaging, Oxford University, Valladolid’s clinical hospital and the NHS some of the most common symptoms are:
- Extreme tiredness
- Shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness
- Brain fog: memory problems and concentration
- Loss or changes to taste and smell
- Heart problems
- Joint pain
- Gut problems
- Vision problems or changes
- Ear pain
- Unusual body sensations (pins, needles and numbness)
It is crucial to remember these symptoms can have other causes too, so visit your GP to know if there is another possible cause for them.
What do studies say?
Recent studies have shown:
- Between 10% and 20% of patients have persistent covid.
- They are people with a negative PCR, but with the same symptoms as when they were in the acute phase of the disease.
- The average age of long Covid is 44, with no previous problems.
- In most cases the course of the disease was mild did not have to go to the hospital. Use this digital wayfinding to locate the nearest one around you.
- 79% of long covid patients are women.
- Extreme cases continue experiencing fatigue and breathing problems seven months after being cured.
- David García Azorín, neurologist and member of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN) commented “some symptoms are unexpected”. If you have passed covid, it is normal to have respiratory issues, but neurological issues are not expected, however, they appear in some patients.
- Some symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, memory problems or tiredness are difficult to measure and need to be tracked over time.
- Experts from Oxford University are investigating the potential long-term impact of coronavirus in the brain.
- There are people with lung abnormalities. What they present is breathlessness, in other words, the capacity of transporting oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream is not well performed.
- 20% of patients have persistent anosmia (total absence of the smell sense) even after 3 months.
- Between 15% and 20% of patients showed neurological disorders long after being cured.
3 important facts about long covid
- Experts fear that in many patients the symptoms will continue for longer.
- The significance of these changes and whether they are permanent is unknown.
- The severity of problems also varies enormously. Some people will have no issues continuing with their day-to-day lives, while others may struggle.
Are there any risk factors?
- As in the short version, people over 70 years of age were twice as likely to suffer from long covid.
- What is different in long covid is the fact that women were up to 50% more likely to develop it.
- Having previous pathologies increases the risks (as in the short version of covid).
To know the sequels of Covid, visit our previous blog.
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