People hospitalized with COVID are more likely to have long-term illness

key takeaways

  • A new study identifies different symptoms and conditions that can occur after contracting COVID-19.
  • Long-term symptoms and conditions may be more common in people with severe COVID-19.
  • More research is needed to confirm whether long-term COVID patients are more susceptible to breakthrough infections.

Hospitalized patients who test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to experience shortness of breath, fatigue and type 2 diabetes after contracting the virus, a new study suggests.

published in JAMA Network Openresearchers analyzed aggregated electronic health record data from more than 2 million children and adults who were tested for COVID-19 between March and December 2020 and who visited a doctor 31 to 150 days later .

They found that the rate of diagnosis of new symptoms and conditions was highly dependent on COVID-19 test results, age, and whether a patient was hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.

The study’s findings could inform healthcare professionals about symptoms and conditions that may develop following infection and help guide long-term COVID research.

Long-term COVID after Omicron? we do not know.

long-term COVID symptoms

When it comes to the post-COVID situation, researchers first began to understand the phenomenon through anecdotal reports, which made research difficult because the problem had not yet been identified.

“It could be one syndrome or it could be multiple syndromes,” Brian Labus, PhD, MPH, REHS, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told VigorTip.

“Different people may have different problems at different ages, so we have to adequately characterize conditions, age, gender, etc.,” Rabbs added. “The better we can describe the disease, the better we can study it and hopefully find ways to prevent and treat it. This research helps us better understand what long-term COVID means.”

The researchers found that shortness of breath and fatigue were the most common symptoms for people who tested positive for COVID-19 in both age groups. However, changes in bowel habits were more common in people under 20, and sleep disturbances were more common in people 20 and older.

Nonspecific heart rate abnormalities (eg, tachycardia, bradycardia, or palpitations) were also common in all hospitalized patients.

Another recently published study nature People with COVID-19 were found to have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, even in patients who were not hospitalized.

The study also looked at what most commonly occurred 31 to 150 days after testing for COVID-19. For patients 20 years and older who were hospitalized after testing positive, the following conditions were most common:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • anxiety and depression
  • Ataxia or difficulty walking

Among ventilated patients in this age group, new-onset peripheral neuropathy and muscle nerve Diseases are also common. Meanwhile, anxiety and depression were the most common new conditions for hospitalized patients under the age of 20.

“The large number of individuals in this study allowed the authors to subdivide the risk of certain diseases in relation to disease severity and age,” Vincent Hsu, MD, executive director of infection control at AdventHealth, told VigorTip. “This is important because both healthcare providers and patients will use this data to help predict or predict these new symptoms, which vary by age group and disease severity.”

what does this mean to you

Anyone who has been infected with COVID-19 can develop post-COVID-19 symptoms several weeks after their initial infection. The best way to prevent any new symptoms or conditions is to avoid contracting COVID-19, which can be done by wearing a mask and getting the recommended vaccinations.

Long-term symptoms related to the severity of COVID-19

The study’s findings also suggest that long-term symptoms and conditions may be more common in people with increased severity of COVID-19. The researchers observed an increase in symptoms and conditions in hospitalized and/or ventilated patients compared to non-hospitalized and/or ventilated patients.

Like many viral diseases, COVID-19 causes inflammation in various organ systems. The more severe or extensive the inflammatory response, the more severe the disease, Hsu said.

“This inflammatory response may manifest later as symptoms in other organ systems, or not be discovered until later, although there may be other mechanisms that have yet to be identified,” he added.

There are other proposed mechanisms to predict long-term COVID, such as higher viral load in the early stages of COVID-19 or a more dysregulated immune response in the post-acute phase of the disease, Anish Mehta, MD, MPP, Eden Health’s medical director of care transition told VigorTip.

“This study demonstrates another way that the virus that causes COVID-19 is more severe than other viruses,” he added. “It’s also important because it helps medical professionals understand what types of symptoms and conditions to look out for if someone contracts COVID-19 so they can help counsel patients about what to expect.”

New study identifies 4 potential long-term COVID risk factors

Susceptibility to breakthrough infection

Patients who have been infected with COVID for a long time are also susceptible to COVID-19. However, we need further research to determine if they are more susceptible to it.

“There are some studies showing that patients with certain long-term COVID symptoms have lower levels of antibodies to COVID-19, but whether that means they are more susceptible to reinfection is unclear,” Mehta said. “However, we do know that if someone develops a breakthrough infection, vaccination against COVID-19 reduces long-term COVID morbidity.”

A recent study investigating four potential risk factors for long-term COVID found that the presence of certain autoantibodies may be associated with a higher likelihood of lingering symptoms. They found that as autoantibodies increased, protective COVID-19 antibodies decreased, making people with long-standing COVID more susceptible to breakthrough infections.

More research is needed to confirm this.

“We remain uncertain whether people with post-COVID-19 disease are more susceptible to breakthrough infections than people without these diseases,” Hsu said. “We are still learning more about the risk, management and treatment of post-COVID-19 disease and hope to learn more in follow-up studies.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID data tracker, fully vaccinated people who received a booster or extra dose were significantly less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than unvaccinated people.

It is important for immunocompromised individuals to obtain the recommended additional doses and booster shots are encouraged for all fully vaccinated individuals.

“[The study] People should also be reminded of the severity of the disease and the importance of timely vaccination against COVID-19 to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and its potential complications,” Hsu said.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may have updated information as you read this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus news page.