Research Finds Long-Term GI Risk for Post-COVID Patients
A new study conducted by researchers from Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City has found that people who have been infected with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal (GI) disorders within a year after infection, compared to people who haven’t been infected. The study looked at a group of almost 13,500 adults with post-COVID-19 condition (PCC) and compared them to over 26,000 adults without COVID over a one-year period.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that individuals who have experienced “long Covid” are at a higher risk for cardiovascular and other health issues. The most common symptoms of long COVID have been reported to be fatigue, breathlessness, neurocognitive complaints, headaches, and chest pains.
The researchers also found that patients who tested positive for COVID-19 had higher rates of chest pain in the six months to a year after the infection. Moreover, women were reported to experience long COVID twice as much as men. Individuals older than 40 years, those with poor health prior to infection, and those with severe disease vs. mild disease were also found to have higher rates of long COVID.
The researchers created a controlled data set of 154,068 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 sometime from March 1, 2020, through Jan. 15, 2021, and who had survived the first 30 days after infection. Statistical modeling was used to compare gastrointestinal outcomes in the COVID-19 data set with two other groups of people who were not infected with the virus.
The research also indicated that healthy lifestyle may mean lower risk of long Covid. The study findings were presented on March 5 at the American College of Cardiology's 2023 Scientific Conference.
The findings of the study emphasize that COVID-19 leaves its mark on the body in myriad ways, and some of these effects can last far longer—and be more serious—than a few days of flu-like symptoms. Once the initial infection of COVID-19 is eradicated, the virus can remain in the body and affect multiple systems, depending on the individual. Symptoms include heart or cardiovascular problems, respiratory issues, immune system effects, neurological symptoms, and even some reproductive issues.
0. “ACC23 Study Finds Long COVID More Than Doubles Risk of Developing New Cardiac Symptoms” Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.dicardiology.com/content/acc23-study-finds-long-covid-more-doubles-risk-developing-new-cardiac-symptoms
1. “Covid may cause increased chest pain months after infection: Study” Hindustan Times, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/health/covid-may-cause-increased-chest-pain-months-after-infection-study-101678113702777.html
2. “‘Starting point' for long COVID management should be treating symptoms, empathy” Healio, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.healio.com/news/rheumatology/20230306/starting-point-for-long-covid-management-should-be-treating-symptoms-empathy
3. “COVID-19 infections raise risk of long-term gastrointestinal problems – Washington University School of Medicine in St …” Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 7 Mar. 2023, https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/covid-19-infections-raise-risk-of-long-term-gastrointestinal-problems/
4. “COVID-19 infection leads to increased rates of chest pain six months to a year after infection in patients” EurekAlert, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/981324
5. “People with Long COVID Are at Higher Risk of Early Death and Disease” TIME, 3 Mar. 2023, https://time.com/6260071/long-covid-health-risks
6. “What Scientists Know About Long COVID, 3 Years In” CNET, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnet.com/health/medical/what-scientists-know-about-long-covid-3-years-in