November 29, 2020

an average of 36 fluctuating symptoms plague persistent COVID patients for more than six months


A small percentage of COVID sufferers from the first wave continue to suffer symptoms more than six months later, already with the virus negative. On average they suffer from 36 ailments, although some two hundred have been described, according to the survey carried out by the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG) and the groups of affected “Long COVID acts” between July 13 and October 14 of this year. The survey was answered by a total of 2,120 people, of which 1,834 are patients with symptoms compatible with persistent or long-lasting COVID-19, the authors explained in the presentation this Wednesday.

A health system at the limit in the second wave of COVID-19 cannot follow up the patients with sequelae of the first

A health system at the limit in the second wave of COVID-19 cannot follow up the patients with sequelae of the first

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The most common profile is that of a 43-year-old woman, who has had persistent symptoms of COVID-19 for more than 185 days. The existence of this hitherto unknown disease is already accepted by many doctors, although the fact that the ailment is difficult to diagnose and that the result of COVID tests is already negative sometimes causes problems for these patients, for example to the time to request a sick leave, despite your disability in some cases.

In fact, half of the respondents rate their own disability between 5 and 10 in a classification of 0 to 10. “This translates into a notable inability to carry out activities of daily living by those affected,” he explains the SEMG. For example, 30.43% of those surveyed find it difficult or impossible to clean themselves; 67.99% carrying out home activities; 72.52% work outside the home; 70.12% have difficulties to attend to daily family obligations and 74.65% find leisure with friends and other people an effort or impossible.

50% of those surveyed rate their health status between 0 and 5 out of a total of 10. As for their worsening condition, half place it 7–10 out of 10.

The most frequent ailments, according to the percentage of each symptom in relation to the total responses, are fatigue / asthenia (95.91%); general malaise (95.47%); headaches (86.53%); low mood (86.21%); muscle pain or myalgia (82.77%); shortness of breath or dyspnea (79.28%); joint pain (79.06%); lack of concentration / attention deficit (78.24%); back pain (77.70%); chest pressure (76.83%); anxiety (75.46%); low-grade fever (75%); cough (73.2%); memory failures (72.63%); neck / cervical pain (71.32%); diarrhea (70.83%); chest pain (70.12%); palpitations (69.85%); dizziness (69.36%); and tingling in the extremities or paresthesias (67.28%).

Regarding organ involvement, 50% of those surveyed have seven affected areas, the most frequent being general symptoms (95%), neurological disorders (86%), psychological / emotional problems (86%), locomotor system problems (82%), respiratory problems (79%), digestive disorders (70%), cardiovascular disorders (69%), otorhinolaryngological disorders (65%), ophthalmological disorders (56%), dermatological (56%), coagulation disorders (38%) and nephrourological disorders (25%).

Half of the patients who participated in the survey were between 36 and 50 years old and came from the Autonomous Communities of Madrid (35%) and Catalonia (30%), which were the most punished at the beginning of the pandemic. 78% of the respondents underwent a diagnostic test, the most frequent being CRP with 73% of the positive cases. Likewise, the survey shows that 59% of the total underwent a follow-up test. Despite the fact that at the beginning of the pandemic there was an obvious problem when accessing the tests, the survey did not find significant differences between those who had access to the diagnostic tests and not, nor between those who had positive results or they were no longer, probably because they were late.

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