One of the unfortunate realities of battling COVID-19 that experts have uncovered is that the effects of the virus don’t end when your 14-day quarantine does. The long-lasting COVID ailments that patients have been experiencing are most commonly fatigue, loss of taste and smell, difficulty breathing, and muscle aches, according to February research out of the University of Washington. But now, a new study out of the University of Oxford has found that one-third of people who have had COVID continue to suffer from a particularly alarming lingering symptom for months. To see what as many as one in three COVID patients say persists after the virus, read on, and to find out what people who get COVID after their shot share, check out The One Thing People Who Get COVID After Being Vaccinated Have in Common.
An April 6 study published by The Lancet Psychiatry found that 34 percent of people who had COVID received a diagnosis of either a neurological or psychological disorder following infection. The study only examined what happened up to six months after a COVID diagnosis, so researchers need to continue their studies to find out what lies beyond that time frame in relation to these conditions.
“This is a very important topic as there has been considerable consternation regarding COVID-19 as a ‘brain disease,’” Musa Sami, MD, a clinical associate professor in psychiatry at the University of Nottingham who was not involved in the study, told CNN.
He noted that there are a few factors that could be contributing to why so many COVID patients are experiencing these lingering symptoms, including “psychological stress, longer stays in hospital, and characteristics of the illness itself.”
To see if you might have long COVID, check out Dr. Fauci Just Said This Is the Tell-Tale Sign You Have Long COVID.
The most common neurological and physiatric diagnoses patients received after COVID was anxiety, which was found in 17 percent of people who had the virus, followed by mood disorders, found in 14 percent of patients. About one in 50 COVID patients experienced an ischemic stroke, which is a blood clot that affects the brain. Other neurological and psychiatric diagnoses reported included dementia, psychotic disorder, substance use disorder, and insomnia.
“These are real-world data from a large number of patients. They confirm the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses after COVID-19 and show that serious disorders affecting the nervous system (such as stroke and dementia) occur too,” lead author of the study, Paul Harrison, DM, said in a statement. “While the latter are much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe COVID-19.”
And for another link between severe COVID patients, check out 78 Percent of Severe COVID Patients Have This in Common, CDC Study Finds.
The researchers noted that the neurological effects are more significant in patients who were hospitalized with COVID, but they are still notably common in people who had less severe COVID cases. “That rate increased progressively as the severity of the COVID-19 illness increased. If we look at patients who were hospitalized, that rate increased to 39 percent,” Max Taquet, PhD, co-author of the study, told CNN.
While the neurological effects were more common among hospitalized COVID patients, the mental health complications were reported equally across the board, no matter how severe a patient’s case was.
And for more COVID news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
In conducting the study, the researchers compared the health records of more than 236,000 COVID patients with those who had other illnesses during the same time frame. The researchers found that there was a 44 percent greater risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses after COVID than after the flu and a 15 percent greater risk after COVID than after a respiratory tract infection.
“Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after COVID-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections, even when patients are matched for other risk factors,” Taquet said in a statement.
And in other COVID news, find out How Long the Moderna Vaccine Really Protects You, New Study Says.