Study narrows down long-COVID-19 symptoms to seven

A new study has narrowed down the health symptoms from long-COVID-19 to seven to include heart palpitations, hair loss, fatigue and joint pain. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) — A new study shows there are seven long-term health symptoms that are directly related to long-COVID-19, despite dozens of reported symptoms, giving researchers a better understanding of how the virus that causes COVID-19 may mutate or evolve.

Researchers at the University of Missouri found only seven out of 47 reported symptoms are the direct result of long-COVID or post-COVID conditions.

Those symptoms, which can last up to a year, include fast-beating heart, hair loss, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, joint pain and obesity.

“Despite an overwhelming number of long COVID symptoms previously reported by other studies, we only found a few symptoms specifically related to an infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” Chi-Ren Shyu, director of the MU Institute for Data Science and Informatics, said in a statement Tuesday.

Last year, a separate study found 15% of all people who tested positive for COVID-19 reported symptoms lasting longer than two months.

Adnan Qureshi, a professor of neurology at the MU School of Medicine, said researchers started studying those patients, dubbed COVID-19 “survivors,” who were “not necessarily normal anymore.”

“The survivors still have symptoms that are at times disabling and preventing them from going back to work or the activities of their daily life,” Qureshi said.

“This is not because the COVID-19 infection is still active, but instead the infection has caused long-term consequences, for sequelae, in the form of a post-COVID syndrome that could persist for months or even years,” he said.

The University of Missouri study analyzed 52,461 patients’ electronic medical records at 122 healthcare facilities throughout the United States. All of the patients had been diagnosed with a SARS-CoV-2 infection before April 14, 2022.

Researchers studied the top 47 most commonly reported health symptoms from long-COVID and found only seven of the symptoms applied to a subgroup of infected adult patients.

Researchers compared the health symptoms, which are also shared by other viral respiratory infections, into three subgroups which included those with and without COVID-19 who have or have not experienced other common viral respiratory infections.

“Before we examined the data, I thought we would find an ample amount of the symptoms to be specifically associated with long COVID, but that wasn’t the case,” Shyu said.

“Now, researchers will be able to better understand how SARS-CoV-2 may mutate or evolve by creating new connections that we may not have known about before.”


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