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The Long Term Effects of Covid-19

After examining 1,459 people living with long Covid, experts from King’s College London have recently identified three different ‘types’ of long Covid. People suffering from long Covid appear to be divided into three groups that have their own symptoms.


One group, which is the largest, experiences neurological symptoms. These symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, and headaches, which are often affecting those who became infected with the Alpha and Delta variants.


The second group experiences respiratory issues. These include chest pain and shortness of breath, which could indicate lung damage Researchers have also discovered individuals from this group are common among those infected during the first wave of the pandemic. 


The last group suffer from a more diverse range of symptoms, including muscle aches or pains, heart palpitations, and changes in hair and skin. 


However, scientists added that although they have been able to separate suffers into different groups, the symptoms from the subtypes are evident in all variants. Dr. Claire Stees, the Clinical lead author from King’s College London, said: ‘These data show clearly that post-Covid syndrome is not just one condition, but appears to have several subtypes…Understanding the root causes of these subtypes may help in finding treatment strategies. Moreover, these data emphasise the need for long Covid services to incorporate a personalised approach sensitive to the issues of each individual.’


Dr. Liane Canas, also from King’s College London and the First author, added: ‘These insights could aid in the development of personalised diagnosis and treatment for these individuals.’ 


According to the most recent estimate from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in June, around 2 million people are suspected of having long Covid in the UK. Self-reports from a representative sample showed that 56% of individuals experiencing long Covid report fatigue, 31% suffer from shortness of breath, 22% have a loss of smell, and 21% endure muscle pain. Out of that 2 million, 1.4 million first had coronavirusor thought they had the virus at least 12 weeks previously. 826,000 first had the illness at least a year prior. 376,000 reported they first had Covid two years earlier. 


The ONS has also shown that long Covid disproportionally impacts women aged 25 to 69 years-old, those with pre-existing health conditions or disabilities, and those living in deprived areas. Rates were also highest in social care workers, education providers, and those working in health care. 

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