What are the factors that make COVID-19 ‘chronic’

Advanced age and the development of a wide range of early symptoms increase the risk of “long-standing COVID,” according to scientists.

A study, accessed by the BBC, estimates that one in 20 people remains ill for at least eight weeks.

Research carried out by the King´s College from London also showed that to be a woman, to have overweight and suffer from asthma it also increases the risk.

The purpose of the study is to be able to develop a system that warns about patients who may need additional care or benefit from early treatment.

The conclusions were reached after analyzing people who included information about their symptoms and test results in the Covid Sympton Study app.

Scientists studied the data in detail to find patterns that could predict who Could result affected by chronic disease.

The results, which will be published online, show that long-term COVID can affect anyone, but some factors increase the risk.

What raises the risk?

“Having more than five different symptoms in the first week was one of the key risk factors,” Dr. Claire Steves, from King´s College.

COVID-19 is more than just a cough and the virus that causes it can affect organs throughout the body.

Someone who had a cough, fatigue, headache, and diarrhea, and lost their sense of smell – which are all possible symptoms – would be at greater risk than someone with just a cough.

The risk also increases with age -especially over 50 years-, and in the case of women.

“From the first data we have observed that men are at much higher risk of suffering a severe illness and sadly dying from COVID, but it seems that women are at greater risk of long-term COVID.”

“Of the previous medical conditions only asthma and lung disease were associated with long-term COVID.”

How is have long-term COVID?

Vicky Bourne
Vicky Bourne is still showing symptoms in October after falling ill last March.

Specific symptoms of long-lasting COVID vary from patient to patient, but fatigue is common.

Vicky Bourne, 48, started with a fever and what she described as a “pathetic mild cough” in March, which turned into something “completely terrifying” with breathing difficulties and the need for oxygen.

She was not admitted to a hospital, but this October she is still living with long-term COVID.

Vicky’s health is improving, but her vision has been impaired and she is still suffers from “waves” of more severe disease. Even taking the dog for a walk is so difficult for him that he can’t converse at the same time.

“My joints feel strange, almost arthritic, and the strange thing is that two weeks ago I lost my sense of taste and smell again, they went completely,” he told the BBC.

“It’s like my body has an inflammation that goes from here to there and I can’t get rid of it, so it appears, disappears and comes out again and leaves again.”

Vicky Bourne
Vicky Bourne
Vicky Bourne’s vision has been altered.

Vicky is not alone. The study estimates that:

  • A out of 7 people get sick for at least four weeks
  • A out of 20 people stay sick for at least eight weeks
  • A out of 45 people stay sick for at least 12 weeks

Researchers from King´s College have created a computer code to detect, from the beginning of a coronavirus infection, who is at risk of contracting long-term COVID.

Is not perfect. Correctly identify al 69% of people who develop long-term COVIDBut it also tells about 25% of fast-recovering patients that they would develop chronic disease as well.

“I think this is going to be very important, because we could identify these people, perhaps offer them preventive strategies and, even more important, follow up to ensure they receive the necessary rehabilitation,” said Dr. Steves.

Tim Spector, who leads the study of COVID symptoms, considered for his part that it is not only important to worry about deaths from COVID-19, but also about those who have been and will be affected by symptoms of this disease in the long term if we don’t control the pandemic “soon.”


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Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Covid Sympton Study, noted: “It is important that, while worrying about excess deaths, we also consider those who will be affected by long-term COVID should we fail to control the pandemic. soon”.

For his part, Health and Welfare Secretary Matt Hancock also highlighted the value of the study’s findings. “They are stark and should serve as a strong warning to the public, including youth, that COVID-19 does not discriminate and may have long-term and potentially devastating effects“.

The British government has released a new film with a view to raising awareness of long-lasting COVID symptoms.

The UK public health system announced an investment of almost $ 130 million for long-term COVID consultations in all areas of England.


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