What is Long Covid?

COVID-19

Long Covid is a condition in which the effects of Covid-19 continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness. It is early in the understanding of this condition but the evidence is accumulating that the condition may be widespread. One early study in Hong Kong suggested that 80% of hospitalised patients had symptoms of Long Covid 6 months post-discharge. In the UK it is estimated that 14% of cases of Covid lead to symptoms which last for longer than 3 months and in 90% of these cases the original symptoms were not severe enough to require hospitalisation.

Broadly Long Covid symptoms fall into three main categories. There are those of impaired cognitive or brain function. This may include impairment of mood, memory or the feeling of ‘brain fog’. The second group includes poor exercise tolerance, this may involve shortness of breath or fatigue with minimal activity. The final group of symptoms are caused by an upset in the automatic or autonomic nervous system. This leads to symptoms such as dizziness, indigestion or palpitations.

The symptoms of Long Covid may change over time and individuals can move between the symptoms above. The lack of a single specific test makes the diagnosis of Long Covid challenging. Unfortunately, the politicisation of the pandemic in addition to the misinformation and disinformation around treatments and vaccines has also polarised opinions around some Long Covid research.

As with our Covid-19 communications, at OT&P we remain committed to providing a balance evidence-based analysis of Long Covid research. We have set up a resource centre where we will provide ongoing updates on Long Covid research. If you would like to subscribe to our Long Covid resources please click here. If you have any research or articles you would like to share please contact us at longcovid@otandp.com.

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Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.

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