COVID-19 patients still have symptoms after 6 months

Grant Boone
January 12, 2021

In a group of 94 patients, levels of these antibodies fell by an average of 53% during the six-month study period after their sickness peaked.

The team explained, longer-term multidisciplinary study now being conducted would help in improving the understanding and development of treatments to alleviate the long-term effects of COVID-19 "on multiple tissues and organs".

The study revealed that patients who first tested positive at the start of the outbreak in January 2020 were still experiencing some symptoms in May 2020, including difficulty sleeping.

"Because Covid-19 is such a new disease, we are only beginning to understand some of its long-term effects on patients' health", said lead author Bin Cao, of the National Center for Respiratory Medicine.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may last for as long as six months, according to a new study of 1,733 people who were hospitalized with the virus.

In all, 76% of patients reported at least one symptom 6 months after hospitalization, with women more likely than men to report ongoing health issues.

Moreover, the researchers explain that 63% of patients reported experiencing fatigue or muscle weakness after being discharged from the hospital.

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The participants underwent a series of questionnaires, physical examinations, a six-minute walking test and blood tests by trained healthcare professionals to gather the data.

Professor Cao added, their research underscored the need for ongoing care for patients following discharge from hospital, specifically those who have suffered from severe infections. Read on to discover five rare symptoms of COVID you might miss-and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Covid-19 severity was rated on a scale of least to most severe disease: 1 - not admitted to the hospital; 2 - not hospitalized but unable to perform normal activities; 3 - hospitalized, but not requiring supplemental oxygen; 4 - hospitalized requiring supplemental oxygen; 5 - hospitalized, requiring high-flow nasal cannula, non-invasive ventilation or both; 6 - hospitalized requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, invasive mechanical ventilation or both; 7 - death.

However, due to the way the data was analysed, the researchers said it was not possible to determine if symptoms reported during follow-up were persistent following the infection, worsened after recovery, or occurred post-discharge. Follow-up visits were done, and the median follow-up time was 186 days.

The study noted that hospitalised patients who were severely ill more often had impaired lung function and abnormalities detected in chest imaging - which the scientists believe could indicate organ damage six months after symptom onset. And he's seen similar issues among patients at his hospital. Anxiety and depression was also reported among 23 per cent of the cases.

The scientists said 13% of patients whose kidney function was normal while in hospital had reduced kidney function in follow-up.

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