What is peripheral neuropathy?
The research, which was published in the peer-reviewed PAIN journal, was conducted on people who tested for COVID on the Washington University campus over a period of 90 days.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which damage to the nerves causes numbness, weakness and pain. It can be either a short-term or long-term condition.
The study consisted of people who tested positive and were put in the study group and people who tested negative who were put in the control group with a ratio of 1:2. in total, the study consisted of 1,556 people.
Among those who tested positive and were diagnosed with neuropathy, one in 16 reported persistent symptoms two weeks after infection and lasting up to 90 days after testing positive.
Less than 10% had long-term symptoms
“Several viral infections - such as HIV and shingles - are associated with peripheral neuropathy because viruses can damage nerves,” said senior investigator and chief of clinical research at the Washington University Pain Center Simon Haroutounian. “We found that nearly 30% of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 also reported neuropathy problems at the time of their diagnosis, and that for 6% to 7% of them, the symptoms persisted for at least two weeks, and up to three months, suggesting this virus may have lingering effects on peripheral nerves.
“It is important to understand whether a viral infection is associated with an increased risk of neuropathy,” he said. “In the case of HIV, we didn’t realize it was causing neuropathy for several years after the AIDS epidemic began. Consequently, many people went undiagnosed with neuropathy and untreated for the pain associated with the problem.”
Since the study was conducted at a single location, further study will be required to see if the findings are replicated.