A flurry of new studies published in the last few weeks indicates that even mild cases of COVID-19 can cause serious and long-term symptoms, beyond the “long COVID” symptoms doctors already knew about. Even a minor COVID infection can affect everything from the heart to the brain to the body’s ability to process blood sugar and produce enough energy to work a normal schedule. These are some of the COVID symptoms doctors are most worried about. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
A new study has found that people who contracted COVID were more likely to develop diabetes, even if their case was mild. In research published in the journal Diabetologia this week, scientists looked at 36,000 people who were diagnosed with COVID, but not hospitalized, between March 2020 and January 2021, but not hospitalized. They found those people were 28% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who didn’t get COVID. The reason may be that the virus damages the pancreas, which releases insulin, the hormone that processes blood sugar.
Heart Problems and Blood Clots
More new research published this month in the journal Nature Medicine found that people who’d been diagnosed with COVID were much more likely to develop blood clots, heart problems, and strokes than people who’d never had the disease. “The extent of the differences across the 20 different cardiovascular conditions is among the greatest of any clinical study I have read. It is jaw-dropping,” wrote Kent Sepkowitz, MD, a physician and infection disease expert in an opinion piece for CNN.com on March 4. “No one knows how long the cardiovascular abnormalities will persist or if they will resolve at all … It is altogether uncertain what comes next, but the fact that almost 80 million Americans have been infected makes a cohesive plan for their health care a necessity.”
Another new study published this month in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that 33.4% of people infected with COVID had mild to moderate residual symptoms a year after their diagnosis. The most common: Fatigue, difficulty breathing, headaches, and brain fog. And 30.5% of people who’d had COVID reported that these symptoms affected their functional capacity—productivity was up to three times lower in infected people. “This loss in functional capacity affects the social, professional and personal aspects of life,” said study lead author Dr. Mayssam Nehme. “It could therefore have an important cost on the society overall.”
More new research has found that even mild COVID can cause brain damage, with a potential loss of brain volume equivalent to a decade of aging. That’s according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature. “There is strong evidence for brain-related abnormalities in COVID-19,” the scientists wrote. “Whether this deleterious impact can be partially reversed, or whether these effects will persist in the long term, remains to be investigated.”
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.