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Of: Yannick Hanke

How long can covid last after a corona infection? And what symptoms are the most pronounced? The answers to all important questions at a glance.

Berlin – There are complaints such as fatigue or mental problems that can last for weeks and even months. They appear long after a corona infection. The latest corona test even shows a negative result. In this case, from covid long or post covid spoken. In Germany It affects hundreds of thousands of people. allegedly.

Because the exact figures are relative to the “new widespread disease” Long Covid and Post Covid difficult to name. After all, the clinical picture is too multifaceted to be able to accurately describe it. The definition remains unclear, often not even explicitly mentioned.

However, a study now provides new insights.

According to a study on Long Covid: Most symptoms disappear in a year

The said study I was in british medical journal (BMJ) published. It brings good news: most of the symptoms of Long Covid would disappear within a year. At least for people who had a mild course of Covid 19.

Left: A yawning man covers his mouth with his hand.  Right: A woman touches her head.
Among other things, fatigue and headaches can indicate Long Covid after a corona infection. © Friso Gentsch/Oliver Killig/dpa/Montage

For their research, the scientists followed nearly 300,000 children and adults with mild Covid-19. In this case, this meant that those affected did not have to be hospitalized. Some of them were already vaccinated when they got infected, others were not. Almost 300,000 people with similar demographic characteristics, but who did not test positive for Corona, also served as the comparison group.

The period from March 2020 to October 2021 was examined. For the ranking: the omicronvariant was not dominant here. Fundamentally, however, a number of questions still need to be clarified regarding Long Covid, What kreiszeitung.de reported.

What is the difference between Long Covid and Post Covid?

Medical professionals differentiate between Long Covid and post covid. But what is the difference?

  • German patient guidelines define long-term covid as symptoms that persist for more than four weeks after an infection.
  • Post-Covid is when symptoms restrict daily life for more than twelve weeks after infection.

Long Covid has become the dominant word in general usage. In the medical literature, including the S1 guideline Scientific Medical Societies Working Group (AWMF), the term Post-Covid Syndrome (PCS) defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) has prevailed. This was already reported in medical journal.

What are the symptoms of Long Covid?

After your corona infection Long-Covid patients suffer from these symptoms, among others:

  • fatigue and exhaustion
  • headache
  • labored breathing
  • Smell and taste disorders
  • cognitive impairments such as brain fog, concentration and memory problems

    depressed moods

However, heart, kidney, and metabolic problems can also occur as a result of an infection. Basically the list of possible symptoms that manifest in Long Covid, long. Various studies have already shown that those affected have named a total of up to 200 different symptoms.

Who exactly does Long Covid hit?

At least ten percent of all people infected with corona suffer from Long Covid. Experts assume so. in a stream Covid long review on Friday, January 13, 2023, the Naturethe journal was published, the researchers surmise that

  • ten to 30 percent of corona-infected people not hospitalized,
  • 50 to 70 percent of hospitalized people infected with corona
  • and ten to 12 percent of corona-infected vaccinated people are affected by Long Covid.

Furthermore, Long Covid would affect all age groups, but a higher percentage of people between 36 and 50 years of age. Long Covid would be favored by factors such as pre-existing conditions, lower socioeconomic status, and lack of opportunity to recover.

According to the study, 90 percent of patients with prolonged Covid had only a mild course of the corona virus

But many people with a mild course also suffer from Long Covid. “We found that a staggering 90 percent of people living with long-term COVID-19 had only mild COVID-19.” So write researchers Sarah Wulf Hanson and Theo Vos, both from washington universityin an article by The conversation.

Together with his team, they examined data from 54 studies with 1.2 million people from 22 countries with symptomatic corona infection (March 2020 to January 2022). Symptoms three months after the initial infection were defined as prolonged covid. The complaints had to last at least two months. his was published Study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Your results:

  • Women were twice as likely to develop Long Covid as men and four times as likely as children.

    One in seven infected people still had symptoms a year later.

  • People hospitalized with Covid were more likely to develop Long Covid.

How common is Long Covid?

According to the WHO, “10 to 20 percent of people infected with Sars-CoV-2 would complain of persistent or new symptoms for a longer period of time after the acute phase of infection, known as syndrome. post-Covid (PCS)”. This is how the World Health Organization medical journal aforementioned.

British longitudinal studies had already confirmed a similar magnitude, representing between 7.8 and 17 percent of long-term patients. De facto goes the current Nature-Study of at least 65 million people worldwide with Long Covid. However, the actual incidence could be three times higher.

How common are the individual symptoms of Long Covid?

Concrete figures on this issue are provided by various studies published in the Nature-Revision to resume:

  • Twelve weeks after infection, 32 percent were still suffering from fatigue and 22 percent had cognitive problems.
  • Twenty to 40 percent of long-covid patients still complain of shortness of breath and cough at least seven months after infection.
  • Approximately half of patients with Covid-19 meet the criteria for ME/CF (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) according to estimates.
  • Cardiac MRI examinations also showed that 78 percent of corona patients and 58 percent of long-covid patients had heart failure.
  • An examination of more than 500 people previously infected with corona showed that 59 percent had damage to a single organ and 27 percent had multiple organs affected (the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and the spleen).
  • On the other hand I would have mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression normalized over time. This was the result of a study with more than 1.3 million people previously infected with corona.
  • For cognitive impairments (brain fog), seizures, dementia, psychosis, and other neurocognitive disorders, the increased risk persisted for at least two years.

How high is the risk of Long Covid at Omikron?

There is currently no valid answer to this. Because the mentioned JAMA study mainly includes people who were infected with corona before omicron’s dominance. But: According to the researchers, the initial studies of Omikron would show a lower risk of covid in the long term. But at the same time, due to the easy transfer of the variant, a relatively large number of people were infected.

How does Long Covid really play out?

in the appropriate medical journalreport, the authors cite evidence of several general and organ-specific causes that could contribute to the development of Long Covid. The fact that the coronavirus affects so many organs is largely due to the fact that Sars-CoV-2 binds to the so-called ACE2 receptor. And this is found in many places on the body. that is, in

  • lung
  • kidney

    small intestine

  • olfactory cells
  • heart
  • testicles
  • muscle cells
  • and in the substantia nigra (black matter) in the brain.

Meanwhile, there are four main theses about the general causes that could lead to the development of Long Covid:

  • autoimmune reaction
  • inflammation
  • Persistent virus or “residual virus” in the body
  • bleeding disorders (blood clot)

How do vaccines affect Long Covid?

Based on current knowledge, vaccination is associated with a lower risk or likelihood of Long Covid. As a prepress studio – which has now also been accepted for publication in the BMJ journal – two doses of the vaccine appeared to be more effective than one.

In addition, figures from the British Covid Surveillance Study (July 2022) that for those who have been vaccinated three times, the long-term prevalence of symptoms can be reduced to below or to a maximum of five percent. Prevalence means a key figure that provides information about existing cases.

Long-term Covid symptoms did not differ significantly depending on whether someone was vaccinated or unvaccinated at the time of infection. This was the result of the current BMJ study regarding mild courses of Covid 19. However, according to the study, those who were vaccinated had a significantly lower risk of persistent respiratory difficulties.


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