COVID-19 could cut a decade from the patient’s life after diagnosis. That is according to a new study that looked into the potential long-term impacts of the disease on human health.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland found that many of the people who died from the coronavirus disease had very low risk of death before infection. Without COVID-19, they would live for another decade or more.
“This paper is compelling in that it aims to provide a better understanding of the mortality impact of COVID-19,” John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, told ABC News. “Clearly, there has been a school of thought that individuals that succumbed to COVID-19 are already seriously ill with minimal years of life left to live. This quantitative assessment clears up that misconception showing that years of life lost is over a decade.”
The findings come from the analysis of data from health care providers and the World Health Organization (WHO). Researchers also looked into the age, sex and other health conditions of patients to create a statistical measurement of the “years of life lost” or YLL.
“YLL is a common, widely adopted public health statistic to assess the number of years lost due to premature mortality,” Brownstein said. “It’s used to assess resource allocation for research and health care delivery.”
Men lost nearly 13 years of their lives after testing positive for COVID-19, while women lost 11 years. The coronavirus infection appeared to have similar long-term impacts with coronary heart disease, which also reduces life expectancy rate, David McAllister, lead researcher and senior clinical lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said.
However, researchers noted the study has yet to get peer reviewed to verify the accuracy of its findings. But it is not the first time that COVID-19 has been linked to long-term damage.
Earlier research showed that many coronavirus patients suffered from blood clots throughout their bodies, which could lead to severe complications and even earlier death. Another study in China suggested patients who survived the infection had reduced lung function, Business Insider reported.
Health experts said the medical community has yet to fully understand lasting health impacts of the novel coronavirus. There are dozens of studies ongoing around the world that aim to explore its origins and how the virus affects the body, spreads and responds to treatments.