The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an official definition of “permanent COVID” on Wednesday in an attempt to improve understanding of the long-term health problems that affect some survivors of the virus.
The United Nations health agency’s International Classification of Diseases now refers to the annoying phenomenon as a “post-COVID-19 condition,” noting that a separate definition may be applicable to children, CNBC reported.
You can read: Adamari López publishes a photo of when she lost her hair due to cancer
Specifically, the WHO defines a persistent COVID-19 condition as one that consists of at least one symptom that generally begins within three months of the onset of a confirmed or probable virus infection, persists for at least two months, and does not it can be explained by another diagnosis, Reuters reported. .
According to CNBC, symptoms can begin during infection or appear for the first time after the patient has recovered from an acute illness.
Common symptoms of the persistent COVID condition include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction “but also others … that generally have an impact on daily functioning,” the global health agency stated.
The WHO also recognized that its definition may change as new evidence emerges and as understanding of the consequences of COVID-19 continues to evolve, Reuters reported.
Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, called the formal definition a “big step forward” for the agency, but one that requires ongoing attention.
“We have to remain vigilant. This pandemic is not over and it continues to cause disease, it continues to cause death, but it also continues to cause long-term consequences for people around the world, ”Ryan said in a prepared statement.
You can read: How to stop overeating if you want to lose weight
The WHO estimated that between 10% and 20% of COVID-19 patients experienced persistent symptoms for months after infection, most commonly as persistent fatigue, dyspnea, mental confusion and depression, CNBC reported.
Meanwhile, health experts increasingly view the condition, for which there is no proven treatment or rehabilitation guide, as their own public health concern, “given the substantial impact it has on society, ranging from the health care costs rise to economic and productivity losses, ”the chain reported.
According to Reuters, several university-led studies have attempted to quantify and contextualize the impact of post-COVID condition to date, with the following results:
An Oxford University study of more than 270,000 COVID-19 survivors found at least one long-term symptom in 37% of participants, with symptoms more frequent among people who had required hospitalization.
A Harvard University study involving more than 52,000 COVID-19 survivors whose infections had been only mild or asymptomatic suggested that long-term COVID conditions may more often affect patients younger than 65.
“A very common characteristic is the relapsing remitting nature of the disease, where you feel like you’ve recovered, then it hits you back,” said Nisreen Alwan, associate professor of public health at the University of Southampton, during a webinar. online hosted by the British Medical Journal in September to discuss the diagnosis, management and prognosis of long-term COVID, CNBC reported.
“It’s a constant cycle of disappointment, not just for you, but for the people around you who really want you to recover,” she added, reflecting on her own battle with the persistent condition.