Despite being referred to as a respiratory virus, doctors now know that the toll that a severe case of COVID-19 can take on the human body can go way beyond the lungs. It is now clear that the virus can do considerable damage to the kidneys, liver, heart, and even the brain in some patients. But what's also becoming clear is that the vast majority of COVID survivors are suffering from long-lasting after-effects. In fact, a recent study found that 91 percent of so-called "recovered" patients have at least one long-term complication from the disease. Read on to find out more, and to see what issues most patients have, here are The Longest Lasting COVID Symptoms You Could Have.
The new findings are the result of a survey conducted of 965 COVID-19 survivors in South Korea, Reuters reports. The researchers said that 879 respondents—or 91.1 percent—reported at least one long-lasting symptom listed. Fatigue was the most common response at 26 percent and difficulty concentrating was reported among 25 percent of patients, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). Many of the patients also reported psychological issues and a prolonged loss of smell and taste months after their hospital stays ended.
The results add to a growing set of evidence that post-COVID effects are a common experience for survivors. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released data showing that lingering symptoms such as fatigue, cough, headache, loss of taste and smell, and confusion were still common among 18 to 34 year olds two to three weeks after they tested positive.
The same report also noted that 40 percent of patients who survived the 2003 SARS pandemic—which was caused by a coronavirus as well—had shown chronic fatigue symptoms that lasted three and a half years after their initial diagnosis. The agency concluded that the growing evidence of long-term health complications affecting the heart, lungs, brain, and patients' overall mental health could create a lingering strain on the medical system long after the pandemic has subsided.
Other studies into the long-lasting symptoms of COVID-19 have yielded similar results. A July report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 35 percent of patients surveyed were not fully recovered two to three weeks after testing positive for the virus, with many reporting feelings of fatigue. Now, some experts believe the disease may cause a chronic fatigue syndrome known as myalgic encephalomyelitis.
"Even after you clear the virus, there are post-viral symptoms," Anthony Fauci, MD said in an interview with Medscape in July. "It's extraordinary how many people have a post-viral syndrome that's very strikingly similar to myalgic encephalomyelitis [or] chronic fatigue syndrome." And for more on what's plaguing the public with coronavirus, These Are the Most Common COVID Symptoms You Could Have.