Long COVID Symptoms Are Often Overlooked in Seniors
Research indicates that older adults are more prone to developing long COVID compared with younger or middle-aged adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines long COVID as new or ongoing health problems occurring at least 4 weeks after a COVID-19 infection. A study published in BMJ estimated that 32% of older adults nationwide who recovered from a COVID-19 infection experience symptoms of long COVID up to 4 months after infection, more than double the 14% rate an earlier study found in adults aged 18-64 years. Researchers examined more than 87,000 adults aged 65 years and older who had COVID infections in 2020, using claims data from UnitedHealth Group’s Medicare Advantage plans. Researchers took into account symptoms that lasted 21 days or more after an infection, a shorter period compared with the CDC's definition. The data included older adults who were hospitalized because of COVID-19 (27%) and those who were not (73%). Ken Cohen, a co-author of the study and executive director of translational research for Optum Care, a network owned by UnitedHealth Group, observed: "On average, older adults are less resilient. They don't have the same ability to bounce back from serious illness."
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