Many people who have suffered from covid-19 continue to experience sequelae such as fatigue or shortness of breath a year after having the disease, a Chinese study of the long-term effects of the pandemic revealed.
“About half” of patients who are discharged from the hospital “suffer at least one persistent symptom (the most common is fatigue or muscle weakness) and one in three still suffer from shortness of breath” twelve months later, the published article points out. this Friday in British magazine The Lancet.
These proportions are even higher among patients suffering from a severe form of covid-19 and who were admitted to intensive care units.
The research was based on a medical check-up performed on nearly 1,300 people who left a hospital in Wuhan between January and May 2020, the first city affected by the pandemic.
These data were compared with those collected six months after the patients’ discharge.
“The proportion of patients with at least one symptom or sequel decreased from 68% after six months to 49% after twelve,” the researchers noted.
In contrast, the proportion of patients with dyspnea (respiratory problems) “increased slightly” from 26% to 30%.
In addition, the group of patients who had decreased pulmonary diffusion capacity did not improve during this period.
The study warns of an increase in the number of patients with anxiety or depression, from 23 to 26%.
The authors note that women are 43% more likely to experience persistent fatigue or muscle weakness and twice as likely to experience anxiety or depression.
Despite these sequelae, the study indicates that 88% of patients who had covid-19 who worked when infected were able to resume their occupations a year later.
This study, the first with a one-year perspective, joins other recent research that urges health officials to “prepare to support long-term covid-19 patients.”
“Persistent covid is a major medical challenge,” warns The Lancet in an editorial alongside the study.
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