The role of multimorbidity and socio-economic characteristics as potential risk factors for Long Covid: Evidence from the multilevel analysis of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe's corona surveys (2020-2021)

Piotr Wilk, Valerie Moran, Maria N.Pi Alperin, Torsten Bohn*, Guy Fagherazzi, Maurice P. Zeegers, Maria Ruiz-Castell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: A substantial proportion of individuals continue experiencing persistent symptoms following the acute stage of their Covid-19 illness. However, there is a shortage of population-based studies on Long Covid risk factors. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of Long Covid in the population of middle-Aged and older Europeans having contracted Covid-19 and to assess the role of multimorbidity and socio-economic characteristics as potential risk factors of Long Covid. Methods: A population-based longitudinal prospective study involving a sample of respondents 50 years and older (n = 4,004) from 27 countries who participated in the 2020 and 2021 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), in particular the Corona Surveys. Analyses were conducted by a multilevel (random intercept) hurdle negative binomial model. Results: Overall, 71.6% (95% confidence interval = 70.2-73.0%) of the individuals who contracted Covid-19 had at least one symptom of Long Covid up to 12 months after the infection, with an average of 3.06 (standard deviation = 1.88) symptoms. There were significant cross-country differences in the prevalence of Long Covid and number of symptoms. Higher education and being a man were associated with a lower risk of Long Covid, whilst being employed was associated with a higher risk of having Long Covid. Multimorbidity was associated with a higher number of symptoms and older age was associated with a lower number of symptoms. Conclusion: Our results provide evidence on the substantial burden of Long Covid in Europe. Individuals who contracted Covid-19 may require long-Term support or further medical intervention, putting additional pressure on national health care systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberafad225
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume52
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)
  • Long Covid
  • multilevel model
  • multimorbidity
  • older people
  • socio-economic factors
  • Survey of Health

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