Most common symptoms were shortness of breath, smell distortions, chest pain and fever
Add loss of hair and libido to the symptoms associated with long COVID, U.K. researchers warn.
They compared nearly half a million people who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infections before the middle of April 2021, without having been hospitalized, with nearly two million uninfected people of similar age, gender and health status.
Overall, 62 persistent symptoms were significantly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection after 12 weeks, the researchers reported on Monday in Nature Medicine.
Among the most common were shortness of breath, smell distortions, chest pain and fever, but the study also identified memory problems, inability to perform familiar movements or commands, bowel incontinence, erectile dysfunction, hallucinations, and limb swelling as being more common in people with long COVID.
Compared to the uninfected group, those in the infected group were nearly four times more likely to report hair loss and more than twice as likely to report ejaculation difficulty or reduced libido. The odds of developing long COVID were higher in younger people, females, and racial minorities, the researchers found.
“This research validates what patients have been telling clinicians and policy makers throughout the pandemic, that the symptoms of long COVID are extremely broad and cannot be fully accounted for by other factors such as lifestyle risk factors or chronic health conditions,” study leader Dr. Shamil Haroon of the University of Birmingham said in a statement.
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