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Long Covid: Viral infection linked to heart failure – signs

Long Covid: Dr Sara Kayat discusses impact on children

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Symptoms of long Covid include:
• Fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Brain fog
• Insomnia
• Heart palpitations
• Dizziness
• Pins and needles
• Joint pain
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Tinnitus
• Nausea
• Diarrhoea
• High temperature
• Loss of sense of smell or taste
• Rashes.

As well as symptoms varying from day to day, research suggests the COVID-19 virus can have long-term consequences.

A report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found those who had a mild case of Covid saw their risk of heart failure, heart attack, and stroke rise by over 50 percent.

Meanwhile data also suggests of those hospitalised with COVID-19, less than a third have fully recovered a year later.

With the number of patients rising to two million, just over three percent of the country now has long Covid.

Of the two million, 40 percent have had symptoms for over a year while 20 percent said they were infected at least two years ago.

The condition has had a dramatic impact on the ability of some to live normal lives; 20 percent said their lives were “limited a lot”.

In a statement the ONS said: “As a proportion of the UK population, the prevalence of self-reported long Covid was greatest in people aged 35 to 69 years, females, people living in more deprived areas, those working in social care, teaching and education, or health care, and those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability.”

Imperial College London’s Professor Danny Altmann described the figures as alarming.

Professor Altmann said of the data: “They put to rest any vestige of hope that long Covid would somehow be just a thing of the early waves, would diminish in times of vaccination or ‘milder’ variants, or would just trail off.

“We’ve now created a far larger cohort of the chronically unwell and disabled that we previously had within the entire national burden of rheumatoid arthritis, its healthcare costs, associated loss to quality of life and to the workplace.”

Professor Altmann added: “This couldn’t be further from ‘living with Covid’. It does necessitate some policy discussions, nationally and internationally.”

Long Covid, and the growing size of the patient group, means the NHS must adapt quickly to size of the challenge in front of it.

Every single long Covid patient is different, and each person requires a level of care for their symptoms.

In response to the ONS report, the chair of all party parliamentary group on coronavirus Layla Moran said: “After reaching this grim milestone, the government cannot bury their heads in the sand any longer.

“They must urgently classify long Covid as an occupational illness, provide formal guidance to employers and increase funding for research into treatments.”

As the number of patients with long Covid continues to rise, the hope is action be urgently taken to address the latest post-Covid health crisis.

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