Long-term complication of COVID-19 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Long COVID or long-haul COVID is a group of health problems persisting or developing after an initial period of COVID-19 infection. Symptoms can last weeks, months or years and are often debilitating.[3] The World Health Organization defines long COVID as starting three months after the initial COVID-19 infection, but other agencies define it as starting at four weeks after the initial infection.[2]

Quick facts: Long COVID, Other names, Symptoms, Duration, ...
Other namesLong-haul COVID, post-COVID-19 syndrome, post-COVID-19 condition, post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), chronic COVID syndrome[1]
SymptomsHighly varied, including post-exertional malaise (symptoms worsen with effort), fatigue, muscle pain, shortness of breath, chest pain and cognitive dysfunction ("brain fog")[2]
DurationWeeks to years, possibly lifelong[3]
CausesCOVID-19 infection
Risk factorsFemale sex, age, obesity, asthma, more severe COVID-19 infection[4]
Frequency50–70% of hospitalised COVID-19 cases, 10–30% of non-hospitalised cases, and 10–12% of vaccinated cases[3]

Long COVID is characterised by a large number of symptoms that sometimes disappear and then reappear. Commonly reported symptoms of long COVID are fatigue, memory problems, shortness of breath, and sleep disorder.[5][6][7] Several other symptoms, including headaches, mental health issues, loss of smell or taste, muscle weakness, fever, and cognitive dysfunction may also present.[5][7] Symptoms often get worse after mental or physical effort, a process called post-exertional malaise.[5] There is a large overlap in symptoms with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).[2]

The causes of long COVID are not yet fully understood. Hypotheses include lasting damage to organs and blood vessels, problems with blood clotting, neurological dysfunction, persistent virus or a reactivation of latent viruses and autoimmunity.[3] Diagnosis of long COVID is based on (suspected or confirmed) COVID-19 infection or symptomsand by excluding alternative diagnoses.[8][9]

Estimates of the prevalence of long COVID vary based on definition, population studied, time period studied, and methodology, generally ranging between 5% and 50%.[10] Prevalence is less after vaccination.[11] Risk factors are higher age, female sex, having asthma, and a more severe initial COVID-19 infection.[4] As of 2023, there are no validated effective treatments.[3][5] Management of long COVID depends on symptoms. Rest is recommended for fatigue and pacing for post-exertional malaise. People with severe symptoms or those who were in intensive care may require care from a team of specialists.[12] Most people with symptoms at 4 weeks recover by 12 weeks. Recovery is slower (or plateaues) for those still ill at 12 weeks.[12] For a subset of people, for instance those meeting the criteria for ME/CFS, symptoms are expected to be lifelong.[3]

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