TAMPA, Fla. — While many people recover from the initial infection of COVID-19, there has been growing fear of COVID-19 long haulers who have problems months after becoming infected. A new study now quantifies how many people are running into those problems.
The study from the University of Oxford, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre found 37% of COVID-19 patients suffered from at least one long-COVID symptom in the three to six month period after infection.
Researchers said the study looked at more than 270,000 people recovering from COIVD-19 and looked at nine core long-COVID symptoms and how often they were diagnosed.
The long-COVID symptoms that occurred 90-180 days after COVID-19 was diagnosed, and their frequency, included:
- Abnormal breathing - (8%)
- Abdonimnal symptoms - (8%)
- Anxiety/depression - (15%)
- Chest/throat pain - (6%)
- Cognitive problems - (4%)
- Fatigue - (6%)
- Headache - (5%)
- Myalgia - (1.5%)
- Other pain - (7%)
The study's authors said if the entire 180 day period after COVID-19 infection was included, "higher rates of the symptoms were seen."
According to the study, the severity of infection, age, and sex also impacted the likelihood of long-COVID symptoms. Those who were hospitalized typically saw more frequent symptoms. Older patients and men had more breathing difficulties and cognitive problems, while young people and women had more headaches, abdominal symptoms, and anxiety/depression, the study found.
The researchers involved said the study showed that "a significant proportion of people, of all ages, can be affected by a range of symptoms and difficulties in the six months after COVID-19 infection." However, they also noted the study doesn't explain what causes the long-COVID symptoms or how long they will last.