Long COVID symptoms finally identified by new scientific study
The study suggests that more than 20% of people who have had the virus previously have experienced long Covid under the new definition
May 26, 2023 6:56am
Updated: May 26, 2023 6:56am
A new study published on Thursday finally identified the most common Long COVID symptoms, giving scientists and doctors a clearer picture of how to treat the virus.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, identifies 12 common symptoms in people with Long COVID—those who continue to show or have recurring symptoms more than six months after the initial infection.
The symptoms include ongoing fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, thirst, cough, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal movements, upset stomach, lack of sexual desire, loss of smell or taste, and feeling sick or exhausted after physical activity.
Researchers from the National Institute of Health analyzed the data of almost 10,000 participants of the RECOVER program in an attempt to find what the most common symptoms of long covid were.
The study found 37 common symptoms present in most of the participants who still experienced the effects of the virus six months or longer after infection. Researchers then narrowed down the list to the 12 most common symptoms. Most of the symptoms are likely to occur together, the research shows.
"It doesn't mean these symptoms are the most common, or the most severe, or the most burdensome, or the most important to people. It just means that these are the ones that help us identify people who have long-term consequences," said Dr. Leora Horwitz, who helped lead the research from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.
The study suggests that more than 20% of people who have had the virus previously have experienced long Covid under the new definition. However, many stop fitting under the specified criteria after nine months.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the causes of long COVID are still not fully understood “complicating diagnosis and treatment” for individuals who have it.
The researchers hope that the new definition of long covid could help further understand the virus and treat the more than 23 million Americans that continue to have the post-viral syndrome.