What is long Covid and what are the known symptoms?
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Covid doesn’t extend any kindness to your body, often leaving unwanted souvenirs in the form of various problems. From long Covid to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, research continues to uncover how harmful the virus can be to your long-term health. Worryingly, a new study shares you could be “81 times” more likely to die after the initial infection.
If you think long Covid is the worst outcome of the coronavirus infection, new research will prompt you to think again.
According to findings, published in Cardiovascular Research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology, people who catch Covid are at “much greater risk of dying for at least 18 months” after being infected.
The research team also found that the virus is linked to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes in both the short- and long-term.
Looking at more than 150,000 British participants, the findings suggested that the likelihood of COVID-19 patients dying was up to 81 times higher in the first three weeks of infection, compared to uninfected people.
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Furthermore, the risk remained five times higher up to 18 months after the infection.
Study author Professor Ian Wong, of the University of Hong Kong, said: “COVID-19 patients were more likely to develop numerous cardiovascular conditions compared to uninfected participants, which may have contributed to their higher risks of death.
“The findings indicate that patients with COVID-19 should be monitored for at least a year after recovering from the acute illness to diagnose cardiovascular complications of the infection.”
The research team compared the occurrence of cardiovascular conditions and death in infected and uninfected people recruited before December 2020, when no Covid jabs were available in the UK.
More than 7,500 British patients with COVID-19 infection diagnosed from March 16 to November 30, 2020, were identified.
Each patient was matched with up to 10 people who did not have Covid during the study period and a group from before the pandemic.
Each uninfected group had more than 70,000 participants who were similar to the COVID-19 group when it came to things like age, sex, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular and other health conditions, body mass index (BMI) as well as ethnicity.
In all three groups, the average age was around 66 and there were nearly equal numbers of men and women.
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Prof Wong said: “The historical control cohort was included to rule out the effect of routine healthcare services being reduced or cancelled during the pandemic, which led to worsening health and increased mortality even in uninfected people.”
The study found that those with COVID-19 were around four times more likely to develop major cardiovascular disease in the acute phase and 40 percent more likely in the post-acute phase.
The acute phase expressed the period of the first 21 days after COVID-19 diagnosis and the post-acute phase started at 22 days after diagnosis and continued for 18 months.
Furthermore, the risk of death in Covid patients was up to 81-fold higher in the acute phase and five-fold higher in the post-acute phase.
The infected subjects also had a greater risk of several cardiovascular conditions, including a heart attack and deep vein thrombosis, compared with uninfected participants in both the short- and long-term.
However, risks of other cardiovascular issues, for example, stroke and irregular heartbeats, were elevated in Covid patients in the short-term, but then returned to normal levels.
Professor Wong added: “This study was conducted during the first wave of the pandemic, and future research should evaluate subsequent outbreaks.
“Previous research has indicated that COVID-19 vaccination may prevent complications, and further studies are needed to investigate its effectiveness in reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease and death after COVID-19 infection in patients with COVID-19 vaccination compared to those without vaccination.”
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