Study Finds Early Risk Factors For 'Long COVID'

Published: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 1:59pm
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As cases of "long COVID" mount, scientists still struggle to come to grips with its prevalence and risk factors.

New research in the journal Nature Medicine offers clues that could help predict which COVID-19 patients will experience the longer-lasting symptoms.

An analysis of more than 4,000 cases from March through September suggests people with more than five symptoms during the first week of illness — especially fatigue, headache, breathing difficulty and loss of smell — were more likely to develop long COVID.

The illness also occurred more often among females, older people and those with a higher body mass index.

Asthma was the only preexisting condition with a significant link.

Cardiac or neurological symptoms, when reported, tended to occur in the third or fourth week.

The preliminary study requires further confirmation but could help identify at-risk groups early and assist with treatment and recovery.

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