Monday, April 15, 2024

New Study Unravels Some Mysteries of Long COVID

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the states with the highest percentage of adults that have long COVID symptoms are Kentucky at 12.7%, Alabama at 12.1% and Tennessee and South Dakota, both at 11.6%. (Adobe Stock)

RICHMOND — A new study regarding long COVID sampling Virginia patients has found some of the most common symptoms of the illness.

The study, done by Kaiser Permanente, examined 100,000 patients, 30,000 of whom tested positive for COVID-19 and 70-thousand who tested negative. In the course of the study, some of the more common symptoms found include respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disorders, dizziness and diabetes.

Dr. Michael Horberg, infectious diseases physician and associate medical director at Kaiser Permanente and the study’s author, found the numerous symptoms associated with long COVID make it harder to diagnose.

“Some of these symptoms can be described as vague,” Horberg said. “And vague not meaning that they’re not real, but vague because, one, it was hard initially for patients to describe them. Two, they sometimes don’t fit cleanly within a medical electronic health record.”

Horberg said some symptoms were hard to nail down because of the variety of them. The study was able to take preexisting conditions into account, meaning the symptoms found were mostly related to long COVID. According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of people who have had COVID-19 are experiencing symptoms of long COVID.

While long COVID is becoming more understood, Horberg said there is other research to conduct. Additional information to uncover revolves around who is more susceptible to certain symptoms of long COVID, the duration of those symptoms and what treatments might work to remedy them. He described what other elements of the illness he wants to investigate.

“Another one is really looking closely at some of the bigger categories like diabetes,” Horberg said, “like cardiac dysrhythmia, and doing some real chart reviews and EKG reviews and lab reviews.”

Horberg noted thoughts about long COVID have evolved since it first came about. Initially, people were skeptical about whether the virus was real, but as more is known about the illness, people have developed a better understanding of it.

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