Shortness of breath, fatigue characterises Long COVID

Cosmos Magazine


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A study of Swedish Long COVID patients has revealed the symptoms most commonly associated with the afflication include dyspnoea and fatigue.

The research led Umeå University and published in the BMG Public Health Journal found that dyspnoea – or a shortness of breath – occurred in around 1 in 8 Long COVID patients among around 6,400 diagnosed outpatients.

The study was based off information gathered from multiple nationwide registries in Sweden. A connection was also observed with the severity of COVID-19 during the early stages of the disease and with those later diagnosed with PCS. Patients treated with mechanical ventilation during their initial COVID-19 treatment were at a higher risk of being diagnosed with PCS.

“These scientific results are an important step in better understanding PCS,” says Anne-Marie Fors Connolly, a clinical researcher at Umeå University and senior author of the study.

“By identifying key factors, we can improve diagnosis, adapt care and pave the way into more effective treatments.”

People with PCS were found to be more likely to have hypertension and high blood pressure as well. This was compared to people diagnosed with COVID-19 without a PCS diagnosis and people who had not been diagnosed with COVID-19 at all.

The study’s approach provides a unique overview of PCS that in turn delivers valuable insights for healthcare providers.

“Our study elucidates symptomatology and how clinicians diagnose PCS. Understanding the clinical and demographic characteristics of PCS is crucial to develop targeted care strategies for those suffering from long term effects of COVID-19,” says the study’s first-author Hanna Ollila from University of Helsinki.

“There is limited published data on the impact of [PCS] in the Australian context,” according to a study published in the Internal Medicine Journal.

However, the results of this study were also consistent with the newer study led by Umeå University, revealing that fatigue is a primary symptom of PCS among the Australian group that was studied as well.

It also concluded that “vaccination was a statistically significant factor in preventing long term symptoms and [aided] faster recovery from symptoms”. 

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