Negative health impacts from severe cases of COVID-19 continue to affect many people even a year after contracting the disease, making it urgent to develop treatments, a UK study released on Sunday has shown.
“Without effective treatments, long COVID could become a highly prevalent new long-term condition,” said Christopher Brightling of the University of Leicester, who co-led the study, published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.
What did the study find?
The study, involving altogether more than 2,300 people, showed just 26% of those who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 reporting a full recovery after five months and only 28.9% after a full year.
Women were 33% less likely than men to make a full recovery, according to the study.
Those who required mechanical ventilation while in hospital and obese people were even more at risk.
The most common symptoms reported by the long COVID sufferers were breathlessness, fatigue, muscle pain, sleep problems, limb weakness and mental health impairment.
Brightling said there was “an urgent need for health-care services to support this large and rapidly increasing patient population.” Even a year after leaving hospital, many people who are suffering from long COVID show serious symptoms, including “reduced exercise capacity and large decrements in health-related quality of life,” the authors wrote.