Long Covid rates could be slashed in half if people ate healthy and exercised trends now
Maintaining healthy lifestyle habits such as regular exercise and adequate sleep can help stave off long Covid symptoms, a study suggests.
Nurses who lived healthily were nearly half as likely to still be suffering with lingering symptoms after clearing the initial infection.
A research team from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that the biggest risk factors were getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night and a body mass index below 25.
Long Covid is a nebulous term that doctors are still struggling to define. The condition encompasses a wide range of symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
While the medical community struggles to coalesce around a single diagnosis, a growing body of scientific evidence has cast doubt on the condition’s severity, positing that the crisis is overblown.
The most common signs of long covid include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pains, and brain fog
The above shows deaths involving long Covid (green bars) and deaths from Covid (blue line). It shows that long Covid fatalities rose shortly after Covid fatalities
Long Covid is defined as residual symptoms of Covid infection that last longer than four weeks after the initial infection.
But some symptoms that linger for weeks or months on end could indicate another underlying condition such as thyroid problems, diabetes, or vitamin deficiencies.
In the latest study, Harvard scientists set out to determine how underlying health dictates a person’s risk of lingering symptoms.
They gathered data from more than 32,000 female nurses in the Nurses’ Health Study II, a national study that follows a group of people forward to examine lifestyle habits or other characteristics to see if they develop a disease or die.
The lifestyle habits considered included healthy body mass index, cigarette use, diet, alcohol consumption, exercise, and sleep.
The nurses reported on their lifestyles in 2015 and 2017 as well as their history of Covid infection from April 2020 to November 2021.
In that time, more than 1,900 nurses were infected and 44 percent of them developed long Covid.