New Study Sheds Light On The Prevalence Of Long COVID In Adult Survivors

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that approximately one in five adults aged 18-64 years and one in four adults aged over 64 years who have had the COVID-19 virus experience symptoms of long COVID, otherwise known as long-haul COVID. Published on May 27, 2022, the study published by the CDC found that adult survivors of COVID-19 are at an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, respiratory issues, and persistent symptoms of the COVID virus.

By staying on top of COVID-19 vaccinations, a person is less likely to experience severe symptoms of COVID-19, and unlikely to undergo hospitalization, but between 10% and 30% of adult patients with the SARS-CoV-2 infection can develop long COVID, even if their initial symptoms are mild, per American Medical Association (AMA).

After studying millions of electronic medical records and comparing the records of people who had never been diagnosed with COVID-19 with the records of people infected with the coronavirus within the initial year and a half since the onset of the pandemic, 26 symptoms were found to be linked with long COVID, reports Prevention. The most prevalent of the more than two dozen symptoms were musculoskeletal pain and respiratory issues. Fatigue and decreased energy have also been linked to long COVID.

Older adults are more affected by long COVID

Finding that approximately one-fourth of older adults who have survived the COVID-19 virus might develop long-haul COVID, the study also determined that older adults who have experienced COVID-19 are at increased risk of mental health and neurological issues (per Prevention). Long COVID can present with sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, physical pain, difficulty with concentration, and fatigue that impedes daily activities. While research on long COVID is ongoing, symptoms have been found to last for more than a year for some people.

CNN reports that recovery from COVID-19 has been found to take longer in adults aged over 64 years in comparison with younger adults. Since older adults are more likely to have other health-related conditions, it's advised to stay current with all medical care and regular doctor's visits. The CDC has published COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates, with staggering increases in older adults. Compared with adults aged 18-29, older adults aged 65-74 years are five times more likely to be hospitalized and 65 times more likely to pass away from the virus, while adults aged 75-84 are eight times more likely to be hospitalized and 140 times more likely to die, and adults aged 85 or older are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 330 times more likely to die. The CDC offers recommendations for older adults that include getting vaccinated, wearing masks, limiting time in crowded spaces, and prioritizing hygiene.