The intersection of Long Covid and obesity

The intersection of Long Covid and obesity

Medically reviewed by Mike Myint, MD, MBA

What is long Covid?

Long Covid, which is sometimes called post-Covid conditions, is when Covid symptoms last 4 weeks or more after the initial infection.

Nearly 1 in 3 people who get Covid report having long-term Covid.

Since Covid is new, scientists don’t yet know everything about long Covid.

Common symptoms of long Covid

Most people who have had Covid for a long time report that the symptoms limit their daily activities. About 1 in 4 people report significant impairments.

Long Covid can take many forms, but some common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Palpitations

  • Heachache

  • Foggy brain

How is obesity related to long Covid?

Living with obesity increases the risk of severe Covid and of developing long-term Covid. Obesity can make Covid worse because it can:

  • Weaken the immune system response

  • Lung function worsens

  • It causes inflammation in the body, which is an overreaction of the immune system and can make Covid symptoms last longer

Do Covid vaccines help with long Covid?

Studies show that having at least 2 Covid vaccines reduces the risk of developing long-term Covid.

Does your weight change how the Covid vaccines work?

People who get vaccinated are less likely to get severe Covid than people who aren’t vaccinated, regardless of their weight.

But research has shown that vaccinated people who are underweight or overweight are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid than vaccinated people of a healthy weight.

If you are obese, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you have been exposed to Covid-19.

This resource was created with support from Pfizer.

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