THAT, more than comorbidities like cancer, makes ‘Long COVID’ extremely risky: Research

There are severe signs and symptoms of COVID that can last for months or even years, and it’s called ‘Long COVID’. Researchers have investigated a link between stress and “long COVID” in an effort to shed light on this excruciatingly persistent disease. The research was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Depressive disorders, anxiety, and other often overlooked forms of suffering, such as loneliness, perceived stress, and particular worries about COVID, are among these stressors. Surprisingly, these stressors affected “long COVID” more than physical comorbidities like a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and cancer.

Ironically, hearing about these connections can add to anxiety. Yet they are an essential and timely reminder that we must prioritize our mental health even in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic. And although the reasons for these stressors are very different, they can all challenge our bodies in similar ways.

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“Long COVID” raises the question of the importance of recognizing and treating mental health issues, making consideration of psychological health crucial. The research team cites a number of reasons why the chronic illness is not psychosomatic and is adamant that this in no way implies that the long symptoms of COVID are all in the brain.

Physical health disorders, which may be easier to measure or see, have a long history of harsher treatment than mental health conditions, according to Harvard University neuroepidemiologist Andrea Roberts. In patients who showed signs of stress, the researchers found that “Long COVID” was 30-50% more common.

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Harvard physician Siwen Wang and associates, including Roberts, based their study on 54,960 participants in large ongoing studies of nurses’ health. Data from 3,193 of those nurses who eventually developed COVID was collected by the researchers. Over a 19-month period beginning in April 2020, volunteers completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires.

Compared to participants who did not experience a high level of distress, those who reported high levels of two or more forms of distress had an approximately 50% higher likelihood of developing post-COVID-19 problems, found. Wang and his team.

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