Being female, people with general health conditions before the pandemic, being between the ages of 50 and 60, having asthma and being overweight or obese are risk factors for developing long Covid, suggests a new published study in Nature Communications. The findings are based on survey data and electronic health records in the UK.
The people most affected by Covid in the long term, according to the study:
- People between 50 and 60 years old
- People with general health conditions before the pandemic
- overweight and obesity
Long-term Covid is commonly defined as having one or more symptoms of Covid-19 four weeks after infection. To reach this conclusion, the study authors analyzed data from ten population surveys, together with information available from electronic records of 1.1 million Britons diagnosed with Covid-19.
Researchers found that the proportion of patients with Covid-19 who complained of symptoms for more than 12 years after infection ranged from 7.8% to 17%, with 1.2% to 4.8% reporting “debilitating” symptoms.
Regarding health factors, the study points out that there was no strong evidence of associations with diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia. Asthma, overweight and obesity have long been factors that have increased the risk of Covid.
The authors caution that although it is not possible to make causal inferences, their findings underscore the need for further research on at-risk groups. They also suggest that further population-representative studies are needed to improve the estimates.
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