Study says women more likely to have symptomatic Long COVID

symptomatic long covid, shortness of breath
© Lacheev

A study finds that women are more likely to have symptomatic Long COVID, with breathlessness being the most common symptom

Long COVID is the affliction of ongoing virus symptoms beyond 12 weeks after the ordinary period of sickness.

For some, this can look like shortness of breath, even months after their initial diagnosis – with blood oxygen capacity lowered. In others, Long COVID can look like ongoing, unexplainable fatigue.

Long COVID can have same impact as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Studies so far have found that Long COVID can even create the same impact as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or even depression. A separate study finds that half of COVID survivors are likely to experience some symptoms of Long COVID.

This study, led by Dr Giovanna Pelà at the University-Hospital of Parma, looked patients five months after their initial diagnosis of COVID-19.

“While women have a lower mortality rate than men during the acute phase of COVID, this study indicates that women have a greater likelihood of experiencing Long Covid syndrome,” said Dr Susan G. Kornstein, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, US.

91% of female patients had obvious symptoms of Long COVID

Symptomatic Long COVID appeared to be stronger in women, with 91% of female patients showing obvious symptoms. Among them, breathlessness was the most common symptom, followed by fatigue. Men were less symptomatic, with 84% of them exhibiting symptoms of Long COVID.

Women were also more likely to experience difficulty swallowing, fatigue, chest pain and palpitations at long-term follow-up.

Authors say more studies are needed to understand sex-related symptoms

Long COVID studies are still ongoing, as there is not enough information about the condition to create full treatment plans – with the majority of global health services still suffering from the effects of dealing with the pandemic.

The authors said: “Long-term longitudinal studies are needed to fully understand the sex-related pathophysiology of the symptoms and the effects of pharmacological treatment related to Long COVID-19; these studies will be crucial to understanding the natural trajectory of Long COVID-19 in order to implement targeted treatment strategies and to prevent bias in treating males and females.”


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