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Thousands of COVID-19 patients are experiencing new medical problems, study finds

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COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 Updates
(Antonio Masiello/Getty Images)

By Hanna Park

(NEW YORK) A quarter of COVID-19 patients have developed at least one "persistent or new" medical condition after their diagnosis, according to a new study published Tuesday.

The research conducted by nonprofit FAIR Health reported that 23.2% of COVID-19 patients determined from private health insurance claims ­– or more than 450,000 people ­– sought medical care for at least one post-COVID-19 symptom 30 days after diagnosis.

The study examined health records from nearly 2 million COVID-19 patients between February 2020 and February 2021, marking it the largest study to date of long-haul conditions among COVID-19 patients.

The five most common post-COVID-19 symptoms discovered across various age groups were pain, difficulty breathing, high cholesterol, malaise and fatigue, and high blood pressure, according to FAIR Health.

Other issues patients experienced included migraines, sleep disorders, heart abnormalities, skin issues, kidney failure, blood clots, brain fog, anxiety and depression.

"Of patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19, the percentage that had a post-COVID condition was 50 percent; of patients who were symptomatic but not hospitalized, 27.5 percent; and of patients who were asymptomatic, 19 percent," said the study.

While experiencing new symptoms was more common among patients who had severe cases of the virus, many had only mild symptoms while others were asymptomatic.

Patients exhibiting these post-COVID symptoms "may not have even known they had COVID," Robin Gelburd, president of FAIR Health, told The New York Times.

“One thing that was surprising to us was the large percentage of asymptomatic patients that are in that category of long COVID,” Gelburd said.

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