A recent study involving more than 800,000 patients has found that certain groups of people, like women, smokers, and people with severe COVID-19 infections, have an increased risk of long COVID. On the other hand, it also found that patients with at least two doses of the COVID vaccine have a remarkably lower risk of getting long COVID.
Vassilios Vassiliou, from cardiac medicine at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and lead author of the study, said, "It is important to recognize individuals at high risk of developing post−COVID-19 condition to give follow-up care; hence it is urgent to plan population-level public health actions."
The study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, combined 41 published articles that included data from 8,60,783 patients. The review discovered a bundle of demographic traits linked to long COVID, including female gender, age over 40 years, history of smoking, high body mass index (BMI), and hospitalization because of COVID-19 infection.
World Health Organization defines Long COVID as the continuation of COVID symptoms or the onset of new symptoms at least three months following the initial infection.
Researchers also reported that the presence of other conditions like anxiety, depression, asthma, diabetes, and immunocompromised status also increases the likelihood of getting long COVID. Further, they also claim that cisgender women are at a higher risk of long COVID, suggesting a probable role of hormones in carrying the hyperinflammatory status even after recovery.
Similar to the results of the previous studies, vaccinations showed a protective effect on long COVID. Linda Geng, a professor at Stanford University, said, "Although data on vaccines indicate that some factors can reduce the risk of long COVID, nothing can completely eradicate the long COVID risk. Getting COVID is the only guarantee against long COVID."
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