London: Covid-19 survivors suffer immensely from fatigue in their daily lives, which affects their life quality more than some cancers, finds a new study.
The research, published in BMJ Open, examined the impact of long Covid on the lives of over 3,750 patients who were referred to a long Covid clinic and used a digital app as part of their treatment for the condition.
The researchers found that many long Covid patients were seriously ill and on average had fatigue scores worse or similar to people with cancer-related anaemia or severe kidney disease.
Their health-related quality of life scores were also lower than those of people with advanced metastatic cancers, like stage IV lung cancer.
Overall, the team found that the impact of long Covid on the daily activities of patients was worse than that of stroke patients and was comparable to that of patients with Parkinson’s disease.
“Up to around 17 per cent of people who get Covid go on to develop long Covid. However, the impact of the condition on patients’ day-to-day lives isn’t fully understood,” said Dr. Henry Goodfellow, from University College London’s Institute of Epidemiology & Health.
“Our results have found that long Covid can have a devastating effect on the lives of patients — with fatigue having the biggest impact on everything from social activities to work, chores and maintaining close relationships,” he added.
Not only does long Covid negatively impact the lives of patients on an individual level, the researchers also believe that it could have a significant economic and social impact on the country.
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.
The experts hoped that a greater understanding of the symptoms and impact of long Covid in these patients will help policymakers target limited resources by adapting existing services and designing new ones to better meet the needs of patients with long Covid.
“Our findings show that fatigue should be an important focus for clinical care and the design of rehabilitation services,” Dr. Goodfellow said.