It’s been no less than two years since the pandemic started and scientists are still learning about the long-term effects of the virus on our bodies.
Sure enough, as you may have heard, some people contract what is known as “long Covid” which means that their infection lasts for much longer than usual – sometimes for many months!
With that being said, according to a University of California Los Angeles research this happens to no less than 30 percent of all COVID patients.
The study was published in Springer and shows that patients with a history of diabetes, hospitalization as well as a higher body index are more likely to experience this condition.
At the same time, those covered by Medicaid and not by commercial health insurance or those who had undergone a transplant are less likely to contract long COVID.
A rather surprising find was that demographics usually linked to a greater risk of COVID-19 death or severe complications such as older age, socioeconomic status or ethnicity are not actually linked to long COVID.
As part of the research, the UCLA team looked at more than 1,000 participants who were enrolled in the COVID Ambulatory Program between April 2020 and February of 2021.
Out of them, 309 people were still suffering from long COVID, making for around 30 percent of all participants!
Furthermore, the most common symptoms amongst hospitalized patients were shortness of breath and fatigue while outpatients mostly experienced a loss of smell.
Sciences assistant clinical professor at David Geffen School of Medicine and medical director of the Extensivist Program, Dr. Sun Yoo, explains that: “This study illustrates the need to follow diverse patient populations longitudinally in order to understand the Long COVID trajectory and evaluate how individual factors such as pre-existing comorbidities, sociodemographic factors, vaccination status and variant type affect type and persistence of Long COVID symptoms. Studying outcomes in a single health system could minimize variation in the quality of medical care.”
Yoo went on to state that “Our study raises questions such as: Why were patients who have commercial insurance twice as likely to develop Long COVID than those insured through Medicaid? Because persistent symptoms can be subjective in nature, we need some better tools to diagnose Long COVID accurately and to differentiate it from exacerbations of other chronic or emerging conditions. Finally, we need to ensure equitable access to outpatient Long COVID care.”