40% people in north India suffered long-term post-covid symptoms

About 40 per cent of people suffered at least one post-Covid symptom such as fatigue, pain and breathlessness for up to a year in north India, revealed a study by Max Hospital on Thursday.

The team followed up with 990 RT-PCR-confirmed Covid-19 patients admitted across three hospitals in north India, between three months to 12 months.

The findings showed that overall, long-Covid occurred in almost 40 per cent of the cases, said lead researcher Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director at Max Healthcare, in a statement.

Of the 990 patients studied, 31.8 per cent of patients had post-Covid symptoms beyond three months, and 11 per cent of the patients continued to have some form of symptoms for as long as 9-12 months from the onset of disease.

Fatigue was found to be the most commonly reported with 12.5 per cent cases followed by myalgia (9.3 per cent). Persistence of breathlessness was also reported significantly more often in those who had the severe disease at the onset.

The patients also reported neuro-psychiatric symptoms like depression, anxiety, “brain fog” and sleep disorders. These post-Covid symptoms also had significant correlations to age, Budhiraja said.

Fatigue was less pronounced among those less than 30 years (2.3 per cent), but was more in the elderly 60 years and above (21.5 per cent).

On the other hand, “neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, brain-fog, and sleep disorder, were reported by 9.0 per cent cases. It was significantly associated with pre-existing comorbidity and not with age, gender, or severity of illness”, Budhiraja said.

More than one-third reported at least one comorbidity, while over 20 per cent had diabetes and hypertension (20.4 per cent).

The study also extrapolated the findings to the presently reported Covid-19 numbers.

“As of June 4, 2021, India has had 2.87 crores reported cases of Covid-19. It can be considered that with the hospitalisation rate at 6 per cent, almost 17 lakh would have required admission,” the hospital statement said.

“If 40 per cent of these develop the long-Covid syndrome, this makes it about 7 lakh cases requiring help after discharge,” it added.

The doctors noted that the actual number of long-Covid can be much more as this condition can also occur in the mild-Covid-19 patients, who were never hospitalised.


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