As of today, Monday 31 May 2021, according to the interactive map of the Johns Hopkins University in the world there are 170 million infections and 3.51 million victims due to the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (in Italy 4.2 million infections and a total of 126 thousand deaths). Many of the survivors of the COVID-19 in recent months they are still fighting with the aftereffects of infection, a condition that doctors have called “Long COVID”, also known as “sindrome post-COVID-19” O “long-term after-effects of COVID-19“. It is a set of symptoms not fully defined for which clinical guidelines have yet to be established; due to the spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) is holding periodic meetings with experts and patients to gather all the information needed to improve patient care. In fact, there is a fear of a real wave of cases, with significant health and social effects for many months to come, in light of the huge number of infected people and the high percentage of patients who experience Long Covid after overcoming the disease; it is one in 10 according to the British study COVID Symptom Study, while for the research “Sequelae in Adults at 6 Months After COVID-19 Infection” published on the JAMA Network by the University of Washington it is even one in three. According to the COMMUNITY study led by scientists from Stockholm’s Danderyd Hospital, as many as one in 10 patients continue to experience them more than 8 months after passing the acute phase. Here is a list of the most common and studied symptoms of Long Covid.

Loss of smell

Loss of smell (anosmia) is together with the disgeusia (taste alteration) one of the characteristic symptoms of COVID-19: according to the study According to the study “Objective Sensory Testing Methods Reveal a Higher Prevalence of Olfactory Loss in COVID-19 – Positive Patients Compared to Subjective Methods: A Systematic Review and Meta- Analysis ”is experienced by 80 percent of patients. Two months or more after passing the acute phase of the infection, about 30 percent of infected people do not regain their regular sense of smell (but it is possible to “train” it thanks to physiotherapy for the nose).

Neuropsychiatric conditions

One of the most common symptoms for patients who have Long COVID is mental fog or brain fog, a kind of constant confusion that reduces the lucidity and the cognitive readiness. According to the study “Persistent neuropsychiatric symptoms after COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis” one in five COVID-19 survivors develop brain fog and it can last for several months. Others are involved as well neuropsychiatric conditions come sleep disorders (one in five patients), anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses (one in three patients).

Cough and shortness of breath

Although the dry cough persistent and the dyspnea (difficulty in breathing) may seem like symptoms basically linked to the acute phase of the infection, in reality they may persist for months even after negativized. In the article “6-month consequences of COVID-19 in patients discharged from hospital: a cohort study” published in The Lancet by scientists from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, for example, it was indicated that at six months 41 out of 390 COVID-19 survivors from infection did not complete the lung function due to respiratory compromise and general weakness. Those with the most severe symptoms also scored the worst in 6-minute walk test.

Cardiovascular Disorders

Tachycardia, arrhythmias, heart failure and blood clots (thrombi) are some of the symptoms affecting thecardiovascular system detected in patients with Long COVID. In some cases, the myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle. The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, moreover, directly attacks the blood vessels and it can cause long-term problems even in those who are young and have experienced the disease in a mild or asymptomatic form. In the study “Carotid stiffness, intima – media thickness and aortic augmentation index among adults with SARS-CoV-2” published in Experimental Physiology published by scientists of the Appalachian State University, the carotid artery of the patients showed a rigidity 27 percent higher and one reduction of elasticity 22 percent of normal.


Being fatigued and experiencing a sense of general weakness – even after simple daily activities – is the most frequent and persistent symptom of Long COVID. 40 percent of patients involved in Stanford University’s Assessment of the Frequency and Variety of Persistent Symptoms Among Patients With COVID-19 reported the condition, while a Chinese study found it in six out of 10 patients. another study found fatigue six months later in 63 percent of patients with the condition.

Skin rashes and hair loss

The article “Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome” published in Nature indicates that the hair loss affects 20 percent of patients six months after hospitalization for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection. The skin manifestations of the pathology are many, but they can often appear even months after the infection; a study of former American soldiers found them up to six months after diagnosis.

Diabetes and kidney disease

COVID-19 can also catalyze the onset of diabetes, as several studies on the incidence of “sweet blood” disease in survivors indicate. They also risk the acute kidney damage and the chronic kidney disease, which in the most serious cases, as evidenced by the study “High-dimensional characterization of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19” of the University of Washington, may also require dialysis.

Gastrointestinal problems

The study “Gastrointestinal sequelae 90 days after discharge for COVID-19” published in The Lancet found that about half of the COVID-19 survivors involved in the survey had bowel problems 3 months after passing the acute phase. These include diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea and acid reflux.

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