According to a study, patients with prolonged covid have a higher risk of digestive disorders up to a year. The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, found that people suffering from both severe and mild Covid-19 infections were more likely to suffer from digestive disorders such as gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction, peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallbladder disease, non-alcoholic liver disease. , and pancreatic disease.
“Our research provides insight into the link between Covid-19 and the long-term risk of gastrointestinal disease. “Covid-19 patients are at increased risk of developing digestive disorders,” the researchers said in the paper.
“Risks increased stepwise with severity of Covid-19, noted in reinfection, and persisted after 1 year of follow-up. This highlights the need to understand the different risks of digestive outcomes in Covid-19 patients over time, especially those who have experienced re-infection, and develop appropriate follow-up strategies,” they added.
In the study, the team from the Southern Medical University of China and the US University of California Los Angeles compared rates of gastrointestinal disease among Covid survivors 30 or more days after infection (112,311), a contemporary comparison group (359,671), and a pre-UK Covid Group (370,979).
Participants were adults aged 37 to 73 years, and survivors of Covid-19 infected from January 2020 to October 2022. The contemporary group consisted of people who lived at the same time as the recruitment of the Covid-19 group, and the historical group consisted of uninfected participants with data from January 2017 to October 2019.
Relative to the contemporaneous group, the elevated risk among Covid-19 survivors was 38 percent for GI dysfunction, 23 percent for peptic ulcer, 41 percent for GERD, 21 percent for gallbladder disease, 35 percent for severe liver disease, 27 percent for non -percent for alcoholic liver disease and 36 percent for pancreatic disease.
The risk of GERD increased stepwise with the severity of Covid-19, and the risk of GERD and GI dysfunction persisted 1 year after diagnosis. Reinfected participants were more likely to develop pancreatic disease.
This underscores the importance of ensuring that health care systems are equipped to provide appropriate care for mild cases in this population, as well as varying degrees of severity of Covid.
In addition, the risk of GI dysfunction and GERD did not decrease after 1-year follow-up, revealing the long-term effects of Covid and the risk of digestive disease.
The researchers explained that increased risk factors could be fecal-oral viral infection, interactions between SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins and the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors in the digestive tract, or virus-associated inflammation.
“This underscores the importance of ensuring that health care systems are equipped to provide appropriate care to this mild case population as well as the varying degrees of severity of Covid-19.”