According to a study of almost 2 million COVID-19 patients, 23.2% of them sought treatment for COVID-related symptoms a month or more after being diagnosed.
“Many patients recover from COVID-19 within a few weeks, but some exhibit persistent or new symptoms more than four weeks after first being diagnosed,” with some displaying symptoms up to nine months later, notes the study, by the nonprofit FAIR Health, in a media release from WebMD Health News.
FAIR Health studied the insurance records of 1.9 million COVID patients between February 2020 and February 2021. The major findings of the study were:
- A month after diagnosis, about 50% of hospitalized patients reported symptoms, compared to 27.5% of patients who had symptoms and weren’t hospitalized and 19% who were asymptomatic.
- The top post-COVID symptoms were pain, breathing difficulties, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), fatigue, malaise, and hypertension.
- The most common mental health conditions reported were anxiety, depression, adjustment disorders, and tic disorders.
- The risk of death 30 days after COVID diagnosis was 46 times higher for patients who were hospitalized and discharged than for patients who weren’t hospitalized.
A Large Percentage of Asymptomatic COVID Patients
“One thing that was surprising to us was the large percentage of asymptomatic patients that are in that category of long Covid. There are some people who may not have even known they had Covid, but if they continue to present with some of these conditions that are unusual for their health history, it may be worth some further investigation by the medical professional that they’re working with.”
— Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health, in a conversation with The New York Times
COVID-19 and long-haul COVID are new and relatively unstudied, according to FAIR Health in the study. The condition goes by different names, including long COVID, post-COVID syndrome, or post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 or of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC).
Theories about the cause of long-haul COVID include “persistent immune activation after the acute phase; initial damage from the virus, such as damage to nerve pathways, that is slow to heal; and persistent presence of low-level virus.”
[Source(s): WebMD Health News, Medscape]