Story at a glance
- Researchers from the Medical College of Georgia found the most common lingering symptom among COVID-19 patients was fatigue, followed by headaches, a new study shows.
- The study analyzed the experiences of 200 people who contracted the virus during the early days of the pandemic and still had symptoms four months after becoming sick.
- Most study participants were Black women in their mid 40s.
Months after being infected with COVID-19, many people reported still feeling fatigued and suffering from headaches, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Medical College of Georgia, who recently published the study in the journal ScienceDirect, examined lingering symptoms among 200 COVID-19 patients about 125 days after testing positive for the virus.
All patients were enrolled in the college’s COVID-19 Neurological and Molecular Prospective Cohort Study in Georgia which was developed in early 2020 to study the severity and longevity of neurological problems reported by those infected with the virus.
Most of the study’s early enrollees were women, with only 35.5 percent being men. The average age of a study participant was 44.6 years old and nearly 40 percent were Black.
Another 7 percent were hospitalized due to COVID-19, with Black participants being disproportionately hospitalized, according to the study.
Researchers found that fatigue and headaches were the top reported lingering symptoms of the illness among patients. Patients also reported suffering from muscle aches, cough, fever chills, congestion and changes of smell and taste up to four months after contracting COVID-19.
“There are a lot of symptoms that we did not know early on in the pandemic what to make of them, but now it’s clear there is a long COVID syndrome and that a lot of people are affected,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rutkowski, MCG neurologist and author of the study.
Out of the study’s first 200 participants, 68.5 percent reported experiencing fatigue and 66.5 percent said they suffered from lingering headaches.
A little more than 54 percent reported changes in smell and taste while 47 percent met criteria for mild cognitive impairment, according to the study. Another 30 percent suffered from impaired vocabulary and 32 percent worse working memory.
More than 20 percent of patients said that they experienced lingering confusion.
Researchers noted in the study that patients most commonly reported having hypertension at the time they became infected with COVID-19.
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