Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children
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A new study has unearthed three distinct groups of long Covid, all of which come with a unique set of symptoms. The most common long Covid group researchers spotted is one that causes a group of neurological symptoms such as fatigue, brain-fog, and headache. This type of disease is most common for people who were infected with Alpha and Delta variants of COVID-19.
The second type of long Covid causes respiratory issues such as chest pain, and severe shortness of breath – symptoms that indicate lung damage.This second group was the most prominent among people suffering from long Covid during the first pandemic wave.
And the third type of long Covid is linked to a cocktail of symptoms: heart palpitations, muscle ache and pain, and changes in skin and hair.
Long Covid has widely been considered one condition – characterised as a general set of Covid symptoms that appear 12 weeks after infection.
This study, published on MedrXiv, looked at data from 1,459 people who have experienced Covid for over 84 days.
The data came from the ZOE Health Study, which has seen Covid sufferers report their symptoms between August 2020 and March 2022.
One author of the study, professor Claire Stevens said: “These data show clearly that post COVID syndrome is not just one condition, but appears to have several subtypes.
“Our findings matched with people’s experience living with long COVID. Understanding the root causes of these subtypes may help in finding treatment strategies.
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“Moreover these data emphasise the need for Long-COVID services to incorporate a personalised approach sensitive to the issues of each individual.”
Roughly two million people are estimated to be struggling with long Covid, according to the Office for National Statistics back in June. These numbers are based on self-reports.
The condition is reported to have dozens of different symptoms, and scientists are identifying more as time goes on.
One piece of research by the University of Birmingham spotted roughly 62 different symptoms.
Among these symptoms were reduced sex drive and hair loss. They also found that long Covid sufferers had experienced incontinence and hallucinations.
If you think you could be suffering from long Covid, the British Heart Foundation has recently posted recovery advice.
Among their advice is to “pace yourself” if you are experiencing fatigue or breathlessness – one of the most common symptoms.
“Try to gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. Try going for short walks or doing simple strength exercises and build up from there,” BHF adds.
However, it is worth noting that this advice is controversial at the moment.
Back in April, researchers at the University of Leeds explained that increasing your level of physical activity could make symptoms worse.
Like the KCL researchers in the study above, the Leeds researchers concluded that it is a “clinical priority” to develop “individualised” recovery programmes.
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