A study found that people who had symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness prior to infection may be at higher risk of developing long-lasting Covid.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health studied more than 54,000 participants from the start of the pandemic and found that high levels of emotional distress before contracting Covid increased the risk of long-term symptoms by 32-46%. discovered.
Over the year of the study, about 3,000 of the participants contracted Covid and were asked about their symptoms and their duration.
Using questions asked about mental health at the start of the study, the team compared responses from those who had long-term Covid and those who did not.
They also found that emotional distress was associated with a 15% to 51% higher risk of long-term COVID-19 impact on daily life.
The increased risk was independent of smoking, asthma, or other health behaviors or conditions, reported in JAMA Psychiatry.
“We were surprised at how strongly pre-Covid-19 mental distress was associated with an increased risk of long-term Covid-19 infection,” said study leader Siwen Wang.
“Distress was more strongly associated with prolonged Covid than physical health risk factors such as obesity, asthma, and hypertension.
They noted that other acute respiratory tract infections, such as the flu and the common cold, were associated with more severe mental health conditions and longer duration of symptoms, and previous studies found that distress was associated with post-Lyme disease. chronic symptoms and chronic fatigue. syndrome and fibromyalgia.
However, they stressed that the results should not be misinterpreted as supporting the hypothesis that post-Covid-19 conditions are psychosomatic.
One potential link between psychological distress and long-term Covid could be chronic systemic inflammation and immune dysregulation, they wrote.
Co-author Andrea Roberts said, “In addition to physical health, psychological health should be considered as a long-term COVID-19 risk factor. increasing awareness of mental health, increasing the supply of mental health clinicians, and improving access to care, all increasing the need to provide mental health care to those in need.
According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, among the elderly between the ages of 35 and 69, women, people living in disadvantaged areas, people working in social care, education, education, health care, and people with other diseases, It has been shown to have the highest self-reported long-term Covid prevalence. A medical condition or disorder that limits another activity.
Last month, NHS England said it would be up to the ICS to decide how to support common practice in dealing with the protracted Covid problem.
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