The article “Long Covid in Persons with Self-Reported Arthritis – Symptoms, Associated Factors and Functional Limitations” by Debbie Ehrmann Feldman and Barbara Mazer explores the impact of long Covid on individuals with arthritis. Presented at ACR Convergence 2023, the study focused on the persistence of Covid-19 symptoms beyond 12 weeks in individuals with a history of arthritis and how these symptoms affect their daily lives and functional abilities.

The study surveyed 2764 people who had confirmed Covid-19, out of which 171 reported a history of arthritis. Using detailed questionnaires, the researchers analyzed the prevalence of long Covid symptoms and the associated factors. The findings revealed that 53.5% of the participants with arthritis continued to experience symptoms such as fatigue, myalgia (muscle pain), weakness, breathlessness, low mood, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.

Several factors were linked to an increased risk of long Covid, including being female, having been hospitalized for Covid-19, and having other chronic diseases. The study highlighted a significant decline in functional status among those with long Covid, with notable deteriorations in global health, mobility, personal care, daily activities, and employment. For instance, the number of participants facing major problems with daily activities increased from 9.3% before Covid to 52.5% after developing long Covid. Fatigue and pain also saw marked increases in severity.

The conclusion drawn from the study is that individuals with arthritis who develop long Covid face substantial challenges in their functional and daily activities. The authors stress the need for effective interventions to improve the functional status of this vulnerable group.