Nearly all Covid patients still suffer from symptoms six months after diagnosis
Research into the effects of respiratory illness Covid-19 showed that more than half of patients still have six or more negative health symptoms even six months after a coronavirus infection. About 91 percent indicated they still suffered from at least one symptom, the study by respiratory health organization Longfonds with research center Ciro, the University of Maastricht and the University of Hasselt.
Roughly 86 percent reported they continued to suffer from fatigue 165 days after their first symptom surfaced. Around 59 percent said they had shortness of breath while 36 said they were afflicted with pressure in the chest. The average age of patients in the study was 48, with 86 percent saying they were in good health before the infection.
“A worrying picture. Once again it becomes clear how great the health consequences of this virus are,” said Michael Rutgers, director of Longfonds. “This patient group must be seen, heard and helped. That is why it is very important that their complaints are charted even better.”
Other long-term symptoms reported include muscle pain, which was identified by 40 percent of subjects, a figure which rose over the course of the study. Frequent headaches were also reported by 35 percent. The study focused on 1,005 coronavirus patients, and was an advance on a study the Longfonds first published in June three months after the crisis began.
About 94 percent of those studied never entered a hospital for Covid-19 treatment, and 61 percent said they had no underlying health complaints before their infection.
The Longfonds presented the case of 26-year-old Rachel Burger whose infection was determined on March 17. At that time she was a healthy person who worked a full time job and exercised about six hours weekly. “And now I'm still so tired that I barely make it through the day. I have a lot of pain in my chest and poor short-term memory,” she said. “Fortunately, I can now do sports physiotherapy twice a week through a rehabilitation program at the hospital. But I do worry: how long will this take? ”
“It is a special population. Three months ago we presented this group with the same questionnaire,” said researcher Dr. Martijn Spruit. “As a result, we can now carefully compare the course of coronavirus complaints in these people. That makes the study unique worldwide.”
“Although fortunately many people now no longer have symptoms, there is a group of patients who keep complaints. We must not lose sight of them ”, says Michael Rutgers. “This study involves a large number of corona patients who are still experiencing complaints. For that reason alone, this research group is of great importance for the future and for the further organization of care. ”
“We still see and hear that corona patients do not feel they are taken seriously. The causes and long-term consequences of COVID-19 are still far from known. That is why we must continue to listen to this group of people. So that they can receive the right care, treatment and guidance,” Rutgers said.
Note: An earlier version of this story noted that one subject of the study worked out six hours per day. This should have stated six hours per week.