A large study in Norway reveals that the risk of long COVID after a mild infection is about double among people who, before their COVID-19 infection, had been diagnosed as having psychological, respiratory, or general or unspecified health problems.
The study is published in Nature Communications and is based on health data from 214,667 SARS-CoV-2–infected individuals who diagnosed with the virus from July 1, 2020, to January 24, 2022. The mean age was 44.6 years, and 50% were women. A total of 0.42% (908) were diagnosed as having post-COVID condition (PCC).
Twenty-one percent had PCC-related respiratory problems, and 60% said they experienced fatigue.
The strongest association for developing PCC was female sex (odds ratio [OR], 2.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.89 to 2.50) and infection with the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain (OR, 4.00; 95% CI, 3.48 to 4.6).
Researchers then looked at prior healthcare use in the 2 years before COVID-19 infections. The strongest association for developing PCC was psychological care (OR 2.12; 95% CI, 1.84 to 2.44), respiratory problems (OR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.78 to 2.32) and general and unspecified health problems (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.52 to 2.09).
"These findings imply that individuals who prior to the pandemic had a psychological diagnosis were approximately twice as likely to be classified with the post-COVID condition, compared to infected individuals without such prior diagnoses,” the authors wrote.