Nearly a quarter of post-covid patients are experiencing new medical problems, study says

Many Americans have sought medical care for post-COVID health problems that they had not been diagnosed with before becoming infected with the coronavirus, according to the largest study to date of long-term symptoms in COVID-19 patients.

The study, tracking the health insurance records of nearly 2 million people in the United States who caught the coronavirus last year, found that one month or more after their infection, 23% of them sought medical treatment for new conditions. The report “drives home the point that long covid can affect nearly every organ system” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, chief of the research and development service at the VA St. Louis Health Care System. Dr Al-Aly was not involved in the new study.

“Some of these manifestations are chronic conditions that will last a lifetime and will forever scare some individuals and families” added Dr. Al-Aly. Those affected were all ages, including children. Their most common new health problems were pain, including in nerves and muscles; breathing difficulties; high cholesterol; malaise and fatigue; and high blood pressure. Other issues included intestinal symptoms; migraines; skin problems; heart abnormalities; sleep disorders; and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Post-COVID health problems were common even among people who had not gotten sick from the virus at all, the study found. While nearly half of patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19 experienced subsequent medical issues, so did 27% of people who had mild or moderate symptoms and 19% of people who said they were asymptomatic. “One thing that was surprising to us was the large percentage of asymptomatic patients that are in that category of long COVID,” said Robin Gelburd, president of Fair Health


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