A study conducted by researchers at King’s College London found that a number of factors increased the risk of so-called “long Covid.”
These included being over 50 years old, being female, having excess weight and having asthma all appeared to increase a person's likelihood of suffering from long Covid-19.
Speaking to the BBC, Dr Claire Steves, from King's College London, added, “Having more than five different symptoms in the first week was one of the key factors.
“We’ve seen from early data coming out that men were at much more risk of very severe disease and sadly dying from Covid-19. It appears that women are more at risk of long Covid.”
The study estimates that one in 20 people are sick for at least eight weeks.
The findings from the study come from analysing the data of people who entered their symptoms and test results in the Covid-19 Symptoms Study app. The aim of the study is to develop a way of identifying patients who need extra care, or might benefit from earlier treatment.
1 in 10 still have problems after a month
Tim Spector, lead investigator of the ZOE KCL Covid Symptom Study app, said, “We are glad that the need to help long Covid sufferers has been recognised.
“Using clinical data from the over four million people who downloaded the Covid Symptom Study App run by ZOE and KCL, we have a unique insight into the long term problems suffered by Covid-19 patients who didn’t go to hospital.
“Our data shows us that over one in 10 still have problems a month on and around one in 50 are still suffering after three months. Long Covid sufferers experience a broad range of symptoms, which include up to 20 different problems and not just the three “classic” symptoms used for diagnosis.
“This tells us that this is a multisystem disease that requires a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment.”
What is ‘long Covid’?
When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit the world, it was a new virus that we didn’t know very much about.
At first, it appeared that Covid-19 would either kill you, or you would suffer from a bad case of flu-like symptoms, but recover from it with some rest.
However, as we learn more about Covid-19, it has been revealed that, in some cases, difficult symptoms linger around for a lot longer than first thought.
A study by King’s College London found that 250,000 people in the UK are thought to experience symptoms for 30 days or longer.
Sufferers of long Covid have reported a variety of problems, including severe fatigue, breathlessness, aching muscles, joint pain, brain fog, memory loss, difficulty concentrating as well as other mental health problems like depression.
Hair loss has also been reported among long Covid sufferers.