More than 75% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have at least one symptom of the disease six months after they were infected with the virus, a study published Friday by The Lancet found. Fatigue and muscle weakness were the most common persistent symptoms, affecting more than 60% of study participants. In addition, about one in four participants reported sleep difficulties or symptoms of anxiety or depression months after they were diagnosed with the virus, the researchers said. “Because COVID-19 is such a new disease, we are only beginning to understand some of its long-term effects on patients’ health,” study co-author Bin Cao said in a statement. Several studies have documented long-term health complications following COVID-19 infection but new research is suggesting that these problems may affect even those who suffer less serious forms of the disease. In one such analysis, also published Friday by the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 62% of the participants felt they had not returned to full health and 47% had severe fatigue even 75 days after their COVID-19 diagnosis. In addition, participants who felt they had to exert themselves during moderate exercise also reported they felt fatigued and in poor health. Less than half of the 153 patients included in this study required hospital care for their COVID-19 cases, the researchers said. “We found that fatigue, ill-health and breathlessness were all common following COVID-19,” study co-author Dr. Liam Townsend said in a press release. “However, these symptoms appeared to be unrelated to the severity of initial infection or any single measurement at the time of an outpatient appointment,” said Townsend, an infectious disease specialist at St. James’s Hospital in Dublin.
Photo Credit: World Health Organization