New study identifies six subtypes of lingering Covid, a serious public health problem

Now, three years later, researchers have collected enough data about a major public health problem. Jackson Lab professor Peter Robinson, MD, MS, and researcher Ben Coleman investigated long-standing Covid using 20,532 electronic health records in America. All patients participating in the study received an official post-COVID diagnosis.

Their analysis identified six subtypes of long Covid that could influence treatment strategies.

Six subtypes of long-term Covid

  1. Associated with severe initial infection and a high incidence of multiple symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and abnormal laboratory tests.
  2. Hypoxemia (low blood oxygen levels) and cough.
  3. Neuropsychiatric, such as headache, insomnia, depression, movement disorders.
  4. Cardiovascular problems
  5. Pain and fatigue
  6. Multisystem pain, but no abnormalities on laboratory tests.

Each cluster has different age, sex, and racial frequencies associated with it, as well as different preexisting comorbidities and conditions.

The findings highlight the possibility that the mechanisms of long-term Covid may differ between individuals, depending on the set of underlying risk factors.

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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says “most people” recover from long-term Covid within three months.

However, many people experience long-term symptoms of Covid, which can “relapse” over time.

The four most common long-term symptoms of Covid are:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Shortness of breath or shortness of breath
  • Muscle pain.
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Research has identified numerous long-term symptoms of Covid, from chest tightness to heart palpitations.

Cardiac and circulatory symptoms include chest pain and changes in heart rate.

Another group of symptoms includes muscle and joint pain, which may include back or shoulder pain.

Cognitive symptoms may include brain fog, headaches, hallucinations, amnesia, dizziness, tingling, and difficulty speaking.

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Long-term Covid has also been linked to mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Also included are respiratory symptoms such as a persistent cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing.

Then there are digestive problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and fecal incontinence.

Additional long-term symptoms of Covid may include:

  • Changes in smell or taste
  • Ear ache
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Nausea
  • Heat
  • Feeling hot and cold
  • Heavy arms or legs
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes.

The BHF reports: “There have been reports of long-term Covid symptoms lasting anywhere from three months to two years or more.

“There is growing evidence that vaccination can help with pre-existing long-term Covid symptoms.”

People who are struggling with long-term symptoms of Covid are advised to make an appointment with a doctor.

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