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Long Covid may cause diabetes and hypertension, South African insurer says

People who have had a documented Covid-19 infection are more likely to be hospitalized or develop diabetes or hypertension in the months after their illness, an indication of the severity of so-called long Covid, according to a study by South Africa’s biggest health insurer.

A patient suffering from Long COVID is examined by medical staff in the post-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) clinic of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 21, 2022. | Photo: Amir Cohen/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Members of Discovery Health Ltd., monitored for about a year after contracting Covid-19, were more likely to seek care for diabetes and hypertension, Shirley Collie, Discovery’s chief health analytics actuary, said in an interview on Wednesday. The risk of hospitalization, for any reason, increased 10% to 20%, she said. Still, the risk of dying is no higher. Discovery has about 3.7 million members.

“We don’t observe any increased mortality risk for the recovered population,” she said. “That’s very comforting.”

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