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This Body Ache is the New Warning Sign You Have Coronavirus

A new study finds that COVID-19 patients in New York were up to double as likely to suffer these issues.
Young woman suffering from back pain while sitting on sofa at home

Ever since the coronavirus made its way over to the United States earlier this year, New York City has been its epicenter with 208,000 confirmed cases and over 17,100 deaths. According to a new study, those infected with the virus in the Big Apple are also experiencing one medical complication at up to double the rate of other cities and countries: kidney failure. 

According to a new single-center study from researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian published in the British Medical Journal, COVID-19 patients who end up hospitalized have a much higher chance of suffering kidney complications—which is likely due to their increased likelihood of having pre-existing conditions. 

34% Developed Kidney Injury

Researchers examined the electronic health records of the first 1,000 COVID-19 patients treated at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center between March 1 and April 5, 2020. They found that over one-third—34 percent—admitted to the hospital developed acute kidney injury. This is over double the 15 percent of patients recently reported in China and also significantly higher than the 19 percent, according to a recent report from Washington State. As for coronavirus patients who ended up in the ICU, a whopping 80 percent developed an acute kidney injury. 

Researchers also found that New York City patients had higher rates of preexisting conditions than other populations, with 60 percent suffering from hypertension, and 37 percent diabetes. They also noted that more than half of hospitalized patients were male, and the median age was 63. 

"Patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 at this medical center faced major morbidity and mortality, with high rates of acute kidney injury and inpatient dialysis, prolonged intubations, and a bimodal distribution of time to intubation from symptom onset," researchers concluded. 

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"Describing our COVID-19 patient population is the first step toward identifying important risk factors for experiencing severe disease," George Hripcsak, MD, MS, chair and Vivian Beaumont Allen Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and co-corresponding author of the study, said in accompanying press release. "Additional studies are needed to tease out what is actually causing the differences we saw in our population versus other populations."

An alternate study published in Kidney Journal conducted by a team at Northwell Health, the largest health provider in New York state, reported similar findings when analyzing data across New York State. "We found in the first 5,449 patients admitted, 36.6% developed acute kidney injury," study co-author Dr. Kenar Jhaveri, associated chief of nephrology at Hofstra/Northwell in Great Neck, New York, told Reuters in May. 

What Are the Signs That Your Kidneys Are Damaged?

The key signs that a coronavirus patient is suffering kidney problems involves diagnostic work, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. High levels of protein in the urine and abnormal blood work can indicate damage, which in some cases, may be severe enough to require dialysis.

In general, acute kidney failure symptoms can include decreased urine output, fluid retention, causing swelling in your legs, ankles or feet, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, nausea, weakness, irregular heartbeat, chest pain or pressure, and seizures or coma in severe cases, per The Mayo Clinic

As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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