Long COVID cause still unknown

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A cohort study found that patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 may still experience a high burden of persistent symptoms after infection, but the causes remain unclear. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Many people report persistent symptoms after recovery from acute COVID-19. The causes of these persistent symptoms, a condition often referred to as “long COVID,” are still unclear.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied 189 patients who were at least six weeks out from laboratory-documented COVID-19 and 120 control patients to characterize medical sequelae and persistent symptoms after recovery from COVID-19. They found that 55% of previously infected patients experienced persistent symptoms. However, the authors caution that it is probable that their study overestimates the true prevalence of long COVID as individuals with persistent post-COVID-19 symptoms were likely more motivated to enroll in the study.

The most common persistent symptoms noted in this study were fatigue, labored breathing, chest discomfort, parosmia, headache, insomnia, memory impairment, anxiety, and concentration impairment after infection. Abnormal findings on physical examination and laboratory evaluation were uncommon and occurred with similar frequency in the COVID-19 and control groups.

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