Intended for healthcare professionals


Covid-19: Middle aged women face greater risk of debilitating long term symptoms

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: (Published 25 March 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n829

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  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

Middle aged women have a higher risk of experiencing a range of debilitating ongoing symptoms, such as fatigue, breathlessness, muscle pain, anxiety, depression, and “brain fog” after hospital treatment for covid-19, suggest the findings of two unpublished studies available as preprints.

Seven in 10 patients admitted to hospital with covid-19 reported “long covid” symptoms an average of five months after discharge in the larger PHOSP-COVID study, and symptoms were more prevalent in women aged 40-60.1 White ethnicity, two or more comorbidities at admission, and receiving invasive ventilation while in hospital increased the risk, but severity of acute covid-19 disease did not seem to affect the likelihood of experiencing long covid symptoms.

Only 29% of the 1077 patients studied felt fully recovered when followed up, on average five months after discharge. Over a quarter had …

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