Study shows long COVID affects women more than men

April 25, 2022

The effects of a long COVID can last a long time, especially for women, a new study has found.

According to the study published in the The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine.

According to the study, women were 33% less likely than men to fully recover. Obese people and those who had been on mechanical ventilation were also less likely to recover.

Researchers in the UK looked at 2,320 people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and discharged from hospital between March 7, 2020 and April 18, 2021. Researchers reviewed study participants five months and one year after discharge, although the number of participating patients dropped after five months.

Symptoms persisting at one year included fatigue, muscle aches, physical slowness, poor sleep, shortness of breath, joint pain or swelling, slowed thinking, pain, short-term memory loss, and limb weakness.

Researchers say they don’t know the reason for the lingering symptoms. One hypothesis is that hyperinflammation in acute COVID leads to “a persistent inflammatory state” after COVID-19.

“Our study highlights an urgent need for health care services to support this large and rapidly growing patient population in whom there is a substantial burden of symptoms, including reduced exercise capacity and a significant decrease in quality health-related life 1 year after discharge from hospital. Without effective treatments, long-COVID could become a new, widespread, long-term illness,” said study co-lead Christopher Brightling of the University of Leicester.

Another study, published at the end of March in the Women’s Health Journalfound that women with long COVID were more likely than men to report symptoms both during the acute phase of illness and five months afterward.

The researchers looked at 89 women and 134 men with COVID-19. Women were more likely than men to experience symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, fatigue, chest pain and palpitations, according to the study.

“We demonstrated that (women) were more symptomatic than (men) not only in the acute phase but also during follow-up. Gender was found to be an important determinant of Long-COVID-19 syndrome as it is a significant predictor of persistent symptoms in (women) such as dyspnea, fatigue, chest pain and palpitations. Our results suggest the need for long-term follow-up of these patients from a sexual point of view to implement early and personalized preventive therapeutic strategies,” the study concludes.

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