New study reveals Long Covid symptoms are 'misunderstood'

Thu, Jan 26
Covid-19 test (file photo).

The latest nationwide Covid-19 study has revealed Kiwis who contract Long Covid feel their symptoms are not being adequately understood by health professionals.

One in five participants reported having symptoms of Long Covid including shortness of breath, muscle aches, brain fog and joint pain according to an article published today by Victoria University of Wellington.

However, co-leader of the research Dr Mona Jeffreys says these Kiwis are not feeling heard.

"About half felt the healthcare they received wasn’t adequate and reported not feeling listened to or understood,” says Jeffreys.

The results of this study has prompted recommendations that call for the Government to develop a consumer-led Long Covid service, integrated with primary health care services.

Those with a pre-existing heart disease or a high body mass index (BMI) were also found to be more at risk of developing Long Covid.

The study's other major findings were around groups who reported feeling disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.

They found that Māori, Pasifika and disabled people faced more emotional and physical challenges due to Covid-19 than other participants.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone but it’s had much greater health, social, and financial impacts on populations that are already significantly disadvantaged,” says study co-leader Dr Lynne Russell (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou).

These groups were reported more difficulty accessing their GP, higher levels of anxiety and depression during the pandemic as well as financial stress resulting from Covid-19.

Information for the study was collected from people who caught Covid-19 before December 1st 2021 and included in depth interviews with 52 people, commissioned by the Ministry of Health.


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