Study reminds that Long Covid, not just death, a hazard of infection

PHOTO: Long Covid poses a long-term health risk. (via World Organisation for Animal Health)

Much of the debate over the continued importance of the Covid-19 pandemic focuses on the milder variants lowering the death rate even when infections are on the rise. But Long Covid – the long-term effects of an infection that can last for weeks or months or longer – is an often overlooked, but potentially major, problem now and in the future.

A study released in the Nature Medicine Journal on Monday laid out a list of up to 62 underlying conditions brought on by an initial Covid infection that could negatively affect the infected person for months after the original virus is cleared from their system.

A lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine warned that this study shows that many medical maladies may follow Covid. And not just predictable ailments like problems with the respiratory system, circulation, and heart, but also things like hair loss (about four times more likely post-Covid) and weakened concentration, memory, and even libido. The lecturer, Thira Woratanarat, warns that Long Covid can lower libido, cause erectile and ejaculation dysfunction, and put the entire reproductive system at risk.

“Covid-19 patients face a 1.26 times higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction than those not infected.”

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Monday’s study followed 486,149 Covid patients who had mild to moderate infections that did not require hospitalisation over 12 weeks. Demographics such as age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, body mass index, chronic conditions, and harmful activities like smoking were all factored into consideration in the study.

Results indicated that even without severe coronavirus infections, up to 62 different medical conditions could develop due to Long Covid after the initial infection. The Chulalongkorn lecturer explained on Facebook on Tuesday that people need to still worry and protect themselves against the coronavirus, particularly those at risk of severe or long-term symptoms. He stressed that Long Covid can be calamitous to people’s quality of life, relationships, and pocketbooks as long-term medical treatment bills add up.

The warning regarding Long Covid: the risks from the coronavirus are not just whether you die from the infection, but what long-term effects linger with you indefinitely.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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