Half of People Hospitalized for COVID Have This in Common, New Study Says
New research has found a commonality between those who battle severe forms of the virus.
The coronavirus has infected 177 million people around the world. Some who've been stricken with the virus were fortunate enough to not experience any symptoms whatsoever, but others did not fare as well. Nearly 186,000 people in the U.S. have been hospitalized for COVID over the course of the last year and a half, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While we know that certain preexisting conditions make some people more likely to end up hospitalized with COVID than others who emerge scot-free, now, new research has found other commonalities among those who experience severe cases of the coronavirus. A new study published on June 15 has found something else that nearly 50 percent of hospitalized COVID patients have in common.
The study, which came from nonprofit organization FAIR Health, took a detailed look at the common characteristics of patients who experienced long COVID, classified as the prevalence of post-COVID conditions 30 days or more after initial diagnosis. Researchers from FAIR Health looked at the private health insurance claims for nearly two million people between Feb. 2020 and Feb. 2021 and found that 23.19 percent experienced long COVID.
According to the study, post-COVID conditions were more common among patients who had more severe cases of the novel coronavirus. The researchers found that 50 percent of hospitalized coronavirus patients ended up experiencing long COVID symptoms. Comparatively, 27.5 percent of patients who were symptomatic but not hospitalized developed long COVID and 19 percent of asymptomatic patients had post-COVID conditions.
Among the long-haulers studied, the researchers found that patients hospitalized for COVID also had a higher chance of dying from the virus, even after they were discharged. According to the findings, the odds of death 30 days or more after initial diagnosis was 46 times higher for patients who had been hospitalized and discharged than for patients who had not been hospitalized at all during their illness.
The study also analyzed the most common conditions among long COVID patients. The five most common long COVID symptoms across all ages were pain, breathing difficulties, hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat particles in the blood), malaise and fatigue, and hypertension. Other conditions long-haulers reported included anxiety; intestinal issues; skin conditions; high levels of glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure; abnormal heart scans; migraine or headache; and sleep disorders.
Patients who were hospitalized had the highest odds of experiencing pain, breathing difficulties, and malaise and fatigue as long-term COVID symptoms when compared to non-hospitalized symptomatic or asymptomatic patients.
"Even as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, long-haul COVID persists as a public health issue affecting many Americans," FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd said in a statement. "The findings in our new study shed significant light on this emerging issue for all individuals who have long-haul COVID, as well as for policy makers, providers, payors and researchers."