Long Covid May Affect Life Quality More Than Some Cancers 2023
A new study found that fatigue impacts long-term Covid users’ everyday lives more than some malignancies. UCL and Exeter lead the study. The NIHR-funded study, published in BMJ Open, evaluates the effects of long Covid on over 3,750 patients who were sent to a long Covid clinic and utilized a digital app as part of their NHS care.
The app questioned patients how long Covid affected their daily activities, weariness, sadness, anxiety, dyspnea, brain fog, and quality of life.
The researchers found that many long-term Covid patients were severely ill and had tiredness ratings worse or equivalent to cancer-related anemia or severe renal damage. They had worse health-related quality of life than individuals with advanced metastatic malignancies such stage IV lung cancer.
“Up to around 17% of people who get Covid go on to develop long Covid,” stated Dr. Henry Goodfellow, who co-led the study with the late Professor Elizabeth Murray (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health). The condition’s daily effects on sufferers are unclear.
Long Covid impaired daily activities more than stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
“Our results show that long Covid can have a devastating effect on patients’ lives, with fatigue having the biggest impact on everything from social activities to work, chores, and maintaining close relationships.”
The experts think that extended Covid may have a major economic and social impact on the nation.
After an acute infection, a patient must have long Covid symptoms for 12 weeks to be sent to a clinic. Over 90% of lengthy Covid app users were working-age (18–65), and 51% had missed at least one day of work in the preceding month, with 20% unable to work at all.
Patients were 71% female. Long Covid may strain already-stretched health and social care resources because most workers are working-age women.
Dr. Goodfellow said: “We hope that a greater understanding of the symptoms and impact of long Covid in these patients will help the NHS and policymakers to target limited resources by adapting existing services and designing new ones to better meet the needs of patients with long Covid.”
As of July 2022, 1.4 million Brits have long Covid symptoms, according to the ONS. Breathlessness, anxiety, despair, and cognitive fog often accompany weariness.
This is the first study to examine how the disease affects daily functioning and health-related quality of life in individuals referred for specialised rehabilitation in extended Covid clinics across England. “Our findings show that fatigue should be an important focus for clinical care and rehabilitation service design,” stated Dr. Goodfellow.
“Post-Covid assessment services should consider assessing and treating fatigue to maximize recovery and return to work for long-term Covid patients.” “Long Covid is an invisible condition, and many people are left trying to manage significant changes to how they can function,” said Exeter Medical School co-author Professor William Henley.
Our research shows that long-term Covid can worsen tiredness and quality of life than some malignancies, although support and knowledge are lower. We urgently need additional research to establish evidence-based interventions to help patients manage this terrible new illness.”