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Post-COVID-19 Syndrome Triples Use of Further Health Care Services

Female sex and high BMI associated with an increased risk for post-COVID-19 syndrome

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — People with long COVID are more likely to use health care services following acute infection, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in PLOS Global Public Health.

Maciej Debski, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, and colleagues surveyed patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection by real-time polymerase chain reaction (as of Dec. 6, 2020) to understand the burden and predictors for post-COVID-19 syndrome. The analysis included 1,487 responses.

The researchers found that post-COVID-19 symptoms were reported by 52.1 percent of respondents. Male sex was a protective factor (relative risk [RR], 0.748). Higher body mass index (BMI) was associated with a greater risk for developing post-COVID-19 symptoms (RR, 1.031 for 1 kg/m2). One-quarter of respondents (25.4 percent) used further health services after their index COVID-19 infection, of whom 73.2 percent reported post-COVID-19 symptoms. There was a negative association observed between male sex and use of further health services (RR, 0.618), while BMI was positively associated with use (RR, 1.027). Post-COVID-19 symptoms more than tripled the probability of using health services (RR, 3.280).

“We hope that our work will help policymakers plan local services and also inform the wider public of the scale of the long COVID pandemic,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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