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Long Covid impact on quality of life "worse than some cancers"

  • Date: 13 June 2023

LONG Covid can have a worse effect on quality of life than some types of cancer, according to a new study funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR).

The study conducted by UCL and the University of Exeter also found that fatigue was the symptom long Covid patients are most affected by.

Researchers examined the impact of long Covid on more than 3,750 patients who had been referred to an NHS long Covid clinic and used a digital app as part of their treatment plan.

In order to be referred to a long Covid clinic, a patient must have had symptoms for at least 12 weeks after an acute infection. Patients were asked to complete questionnaires regarding how the condition was affecting them, with questions including impact on daily life, levels of fatigue, depression, anxiety, breathlessness, brain fog, and quality of life.

Fatigue scores were found to be worse or similar to those with cancer-related anaemia or severe kidney disease, and health-related quality of life scores were lower than those with some advanced cancers.

Over 90 per cent of long Covid patients using the app were of working age (18-65) and 51 per cent said they had been unable to work for at least one day in the previous month, with 20 per cent unable to work at all. Women made up 71 per cent of participants.

The Office for National Statistics reported around 1.4 million people in the UK had symptoms of long Covid as of July 2022.

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