Affected women were 43 percent more likely than affected men to suffer from persistent muscle weakness or fatigue, and twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression.
“Long Covid is a modern medical challenge of the highest order,” said The Lancet editorial.
Fatigue and shortness of breath still afflict many patients a year after their hospitalization for COVID-19 according to a new Chinese study calling for a better understanding of the long-term health effects of the pandemic.
About half of patients discharged from the hospital for Covid still suffer from at least one persistent symptom, most often fatigue or muscle weakness, after 12 months, according to the study published in the British medical journal The Lancet on Friday.
The investigation, the largest yet into the condition known as “Long Covid,” added that one in three patients still have shortness of breath a year after their diagnosis.
That number is even higher in patients most affected by the disease.
“Without proven treatments or even rehabilitation guidance, prolonged Covid affects people’s ability to resume normal life and their ability to work,” The Lancet said in an editorial published with the study.
“The study shows that for many patients, full recovery from COVID-19 it will take more than 1 year. “
The study followed nearly 1,300 people hospitalized for Covid between January and May 2020 in central China’s Wuhan city, the first place to hit a pandemic that has since infected 214 million people worldwide. killing more than 4 million.
The proportion of observed patients with at least one symptom decreased from 68 percent after six months to 49 percent after 12 months.
Respiratory distress increased from 26 percent of patients after six months to 30 percent after 12 months, he said.
It found that affected women were 43 percent more likely than affected men to suffer from persistent muscle weakness or fatigue, and twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression.
But he said that 88 percent of the patients who worked before their diagnosis had returned to their jobs a year later.
The study builds on previous research that warned authorities in different countries that they must be prepared to provide long-term support to healthcare workers and patients affected by Covid.
“Long Covid is a major modern medical challenge,” the editorial said, calling for more research to understand the condition and better care for patients suffering from it.