“The symptoms we identified should help clinicians and clinical guideline developers to improve the assessment of patients with long-term effects from Covid-19, and to subsequently consider how this symptom burden can be best managed.”
To come to their conclusions, the researchers analyzed the anonymized electronic health records of 2.4 million people in the UK taken between January 2020 and April 2021. This data set comprised of 486,149 people with prior infection, and 1.9 million people with no indication of coronavirus infection after matching for other clinical diagnoses.
The scientists found three types of problems that could be categorized into the following groups: respiratory symptoms, mental health, and cognitive problems. A broader range of symptoms included anosmia, shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, amnesia, apraxia, bowel incontinence, erectile dysfunction, hallucinations, hair loss, and limb swelling.
“This study is instrumental in creating and adding further value to understanding the complexity and pathology of long COVID. It highlights the degree and diversity of expression of symptoms between different clusters. Patients with pre-existing health conditions will also welcome the additional analysis on risk factors,” said the patient partner and co-author of this study Jennifer Camaradou.
The study further identified groups of people that were at greater risk of developing long COVID, such as females, younger people; or those belonging to black, mixed, or other ethnic groups.