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“New Study Suggests COVID-19 Patients Four Times More Likely to Develop Chronic Fatigue”

New Study Suggests COVID-19 Patients Four Times More Likely to Develop Chronic Fatigue

A new federal study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that COVID-19 patients are at least four times more likely to develop chronic fatigue compared to individuals who have not had the virus. The study, which was published on Wednesday, analyzed electronic health records from the University of Washington, focusing on over 4,500 patients with confirmed COVID-19 between February 2020 and February 2021.

The patients were followed for a median of 11.4 months, and their health data was compared with that of over 9,000 non-COVID-19 patients who had similar characteristics. The findings revealed that 9% of the COVID patients developed fatigue. Among these patients, the rate of new cases of fatigue was 10.2 per 100 person-years, while the rate of new cases of chronic fatigue was 1.8 per 100 person-years.

The study also compared the risk of fatigue between COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients. It was discovered that those who had tested positive for the virus were 68% more likely to experience fatigue and were 4.3 times more likely to develop chronic fatigue during the follow-up period.

Certain demographic factors were found to be associated with a higher likelihood of developing fatigue after COVID-19 infection. Fatigue was more common among women, older individuals, and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and a history of mood disorders. However, there was no strong evidence of racial or ethnic differences in terms of developing fatigue, except for a slightly lower incidence among Black patients.

Furthermore, the study revealed that COVID-19 patients who experienced fatigue after the infection had worse outcomes compared to those without fatigue. These patients were more likely to be hospitalized or face death. Among the COVID-19 patients with fatigue, 25.6% were hospitalized more than once during the follow-up period, while only 13.6% of patients without fatigue required hospitalization. Additionally, 5.3% of patients with fatigue died during the follow-up period, compared to 2.3% of those without fatigue.

The authors of the study emphasized the need for increased awareness of the association between COVID-19 and fatigue. They highlighted the importance of healthcare professionals recognizing that fatigue may occur or be newly recognized more than a year after acute COVID-19. They also called for further research to better understand the link between fatigue and clinical outcomes.

The high rates of fatigue observed in COVID-19 patients underscore the urgency for public health measures to prevent infections, provide appropriate clinical care, and develop effective treatments for post-acute COVID-19 fatigue. The study’s authors hope that this increased awareness will encourage COVID-19 patients to seek early care when needed, ultimately reducing their risk.

These findings align with previous reports, including a joint U.S.-U.K. study that analyzed electronic health records and found that 12.8% of patients received a new fatigue diagnosis within six months of COVID-19 infection.

In conclusion, this study sheds light on the significant association between COVID-19 and chronic fatigue. It highlights the importance of recognizing and addressing this long-term symptom in COVID-19 patients, as it can have detrimental effects on their health outcomes. By understanding the risks and consequences of post-acute COVID-19 fatigue, healthcare professionals can provide better care and support to those in need.

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