A new study published in JAMA has found a link between long Covid and an increased risk of developing autoimmune and autoinflammatory disorders. The study included 354,527 participants with Covid and 6,134,940 control participants without Covid. The researchers found that the risks of several disorders, including alopecia areata, Crohn's disease, and psoriasis, were higher in the Covid group. They also found that the severity of the Covid infection was correlated with a higher risk of developing other disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and vitiligo.
Long Covid refers to lingering symptoms that persist after a Covid infection, such as loss of smell or taste, chest pain, shortness of breath, or brain fog. These symptoms can last for weeks or even years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the people most commonly affected by long Covid are those with underlying conditions, severe Covid symptoms, the unvaccinated, and those who had multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with Covid.
It is estimated that 23 million Americans have symptoms of long Covid, according to data from the National Institute of Health. This study adds to the growing body of research linking long Covid to various health issues. Previous studies have found that long Covid can affect organs like the liver, heart, and kidneys even after patients recover from the virus. It has also been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, chronic kidney disease, and mental health problems.
In terms of prevention, research published in the Lancet suggests that Covid vaccines can reduce the risks of long Covid. Data suggests that receiving two doses of the vaccine is more effective at protection than just one.
Diagnosing long Covid can be challenging as there is no specific test for it. Physicians typically rely on a patient's medical history, physical exam, and potentially order blood work and imaging tests to make a diagnosis.
In conclusion, this study highlights the association between long Covid and an increased risk of autoimmune and autoinflammatory disorders. It emphasizes the importance of monitoring and testing patients who previously had Covid for these diseases. Further research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of Covid and develop strategies for prevention and treatment.