Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19

A special issue of Medicina (ISSN 1648-9144). This special issue belongs to the section "Epidemiology & Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 November 2024 | Viewed by 8708

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Community Health, “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 6 Louis Pasteur Street, 400349 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Interests: lifestyle; nutrition; public health; epidemiology of chronic diseases

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Human Sciences, “Iuliu Hațieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 6 Louis Pasteur Street, 400349 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Interests: mental health; quality of life; well-being of students

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic induced many changes in the lifestyle of people of all ages. Many countries adopted measures to restrict individuals’ movement as part of efforts to reduce the number of people infected with COVID-19. These measures led to social isolation, working from home, the home-schooling of children and students, and a lack of physical activity. Social distancing and sedentary behaviors are associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, low mood and sleep disturbances. Sedentary behaviors and screen time may also be associated with nutrition changes and weight gain. Moreover, remote working has continued after the pandemic as an alternative to physical work, or in hybrid working modes in some economic areas. It has been demonstrated that acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may trigger the presentation or exacerbation of autoimmune diseases. In addition, the consequences of the pandemic must be evaluated with regard to people who suffered from functional limitations before COVID-19, as their physical and mental condition may have been modified by the pandemic.

In this Special Issue, we aim to evidence the impact of lifestyle changes and the consequences of the pandemic on human health in order to improve patient's quality of life.

Dr. Bogdana Nasui
Dr. Codruta Popescu
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • lifestyle changes
  • weight gain
  • physical activity
  • remote working
  • distance learning
  • mental health
  • autoimmune diseases
  • chronic diseases

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Unveiling the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Lung Cancer Surgery
by Gabriel Veniamin Cozma, Calin Muntean, Alaviana Monique Faur, Vasile Gaborean, Ioan Adrian Petrache and Catalin Vladut Ionut Feier
Medicina 2024, 60(6), 964; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60060964 - 11 Jun 2024
Viewed by 222
Abstract
The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the surgical treatment of lung cancer patients. Data from patients who underwent surgery during the pandemic were analyzed and compared to pre-pandemic and post-pandemic periods. Multiple parameters were [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the surgical treatment of lung cancer patients. Data from patients who underwent surgery during the pandemic were analyzed and compared to pre-pandemic and post-pandemic periods. Multiple parameters were examined, and their changes yielded significant results compared to other periods of the study. The statistical analysis revealed a significant decrease in the number of surgical interventions during the pandemic (p < 0.001), followed by a significant rebound thereafter. During this period, there was a significant increase in the T stage of cancer compared to both pre-pandemic and post-pandemic periods (p = 0.027). Additionally, the mean Charlson comorbidity index score was significantly higher during the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period (p = 0.042). In this crisis period, a significant decrease was recorded in both the total hospitalization duration (p = 0.015) and the pre-operative hospitalization duration (p = 0.006). These findings provide evidence of significant changes in clinical and therapeutic strategies applied to lung cancer surgery patients during the study period. The pandemic has had a substantial and complex impact, the full extent of which remains to be fully understood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)
15 pages, 362 KiB  
Article
Association between Presenteeism, Associated Factors, and Outcomes among Intern Physicians in Public Hospitals during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Vithawat Surawattanasakul, Wuttipat Kiratipaisarl and Penprapa Siviroj
Medicina 2024, 60(6), 962; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60060962 - 10 Jun 2024
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Presenteeism, when employees continue to work despite being sick, may have increased among intern physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the necessity of performing unfamiliar tasks. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of presenteeism among intern physicians (IPs) [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Presenteeism, when employees continue to work despite being sick, may have increased among intern physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the necessity of performing unfamiliar tasks. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of presenteeism among intern physicians (IPs) in Thailand, its associated factors, and outcomes. Material and Methods: A total of 254 IPs participated in this cross-sectional study conducted from June to July 2022. Participants completed a nationwide online questionnaire including demographics, financial status, underlying diseases, hospital location and affiliation, department, resource problems, manpower shortage, workload intensity, presenteeism, and its outcomes. IPs were recruited via various social media platforms. Statistical analysis was performed using multivariable zero-inflated Poisson regression and multivariable linear regression. Results: The average age of IPs was 25.5 years (SD 1.9), and 57.5% were female. The majority of IPs reported dealing with resource problems (74.8%), insufficient manpower (94.9%), and intense workload (83.5%). Presenteeism was prevalent among 63.8% of IPs, with the most common of the diseases being allergic rhinitis (31.3%). IPs with underlying diseases had an increased rate of presenteeism (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33–4.55). IPs working in community hospitals during their rotations exhibited a lower rate of presenteeism (aOR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16–0.94) compared to other departments within general or regional hospitals. The IPs frequently exposed to insufficient manpower had an increased rate of presenteeism (aOR 4.35, 95% CI 1.02–20.00) compared to those not exposed. Additionally, IPs with presenteeism had more exhaustion (β 1.40, 95% CI 0.33 to 2.46), lower perceived well-being (β −0.65, 95% CI −1.26 to −0.03), and job satisfaction (β −0.33, 95% CI −0.63 to −0.03). Conclusions: During COVID-19, intern physicians in Thailand often exhibit presenteeism due to physical conditions, resource scarcity, and personnel shortages, impacting exhaustion, well-being, and job satisfaction. Recommendations include assessing healthcare workforces, allocating resources more effectively, enforcing policies to promote responsible use of sick leave, and implementing sick leave systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)
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11 pages, 448 KiB  
Article
Insights from Chilean NCDs Hospitalization Data during COVID-19
by Jaime Andrés Vásquez-Gómez and Chiara Saracini
Medicina 2024, 60(5), 770; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60050770 - 7 May 2024
Viewed by 609
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lifestyles of people of all ages, conditions and occupations. Social distance, remote working, changes in diet and a lack of physical activity have directly and indirectly affected many aspects of mental and physical health, particularly in patients [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lifestyles of people of all ages, conditions and occupations. Social distance, remote working, changes in diet and a lack of physical activity have directly and indirectly affected many aspects of mental and physical health, particularly in patients with many comorbidities and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). In our paper, we analyzed COVID-19 hospitalized and non-hospitalized cases according to comorbidities to assess the average monthly percentage change (AMPC) and monthly percentage change (MPC) using open access data from the Chilean Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation. As expected, the infection mainly affected patients with comorbidities, including cardiovascular risk factors. The hospitalized cases with obesity and chronic lung disease increased throughout the period of June 2020–August 2021 (AMPC = ↑20.8 and ↑19.4%, respectively, p < 0.05), as did all the non-hospitalized cases with comorbidities throughout the period (AMPC = ↑15.6 to ↑30.3 [p < 0.05]). The increases in hospitalizations and non-hospitalizations with comorbidities may be associated with physical inactivity. A healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity may have had a protective effect on the COVID-19 severity and related events in the post-pandemic period, especially for the NCD population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)
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8 pages, 317 KiB  
Article
O2 Saturation Predicted the ICU Stay of COVID-19 Patients in a Hospital at Altitude: A Low-Cost Tool for Post-Pandemic
by Jaime Vásquez-Gómez, Lucero Gutierrez-Gutierrez, Pablo Miranda-Cuevas, Luis Ríos-Florez, Luz Casas-Condori, Marcia Gumiel and Marcelo Castillo-Retamal
Medicina 2024, 60(4), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60040641 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Patients at high altitudes with COVID-19 may experience a decrease in their partial oxygen saturation (PO2S) levels. The objective was to assess the association between PO2S and intensive care unit (ICU) stay in patients at [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Patients at high altitudes with COVID-19 may experience a decrease in their partial oxygen saturation (PO2S) levels. The objective was to assess the association between PO2S and intensive care unit (ICU) stay in patients at high altitudes with COVID-19. Materials and Methods: Clinical records of 69 COVID-19 patients (36% women) admitted to the ICU were analyzed. Median values were considered for intra-group categories (“≤11 days” and “>11 days” in the ICU) and for PO2S height categories (“<90%” and “≥90%”). Logistic regression and linear regression models adjusted for confounding variables were used. Results: Patients with >11 days in the ICU had 84% lower odds of having a PO2S ≥ 90% (OR: 0.16 [CI: 0.02, 0.69], p = 0.005) compared to those with ≤11 days in the ICU. An increase in PO2S by 1% reduced ICU stay by 0.22 days (β: −0.22 [CI: −0.33, −0.11], p < 0.001), potentially leading to a reduction of up to 1.44 days. Conclusions: PO2S is a crucial factor in estimating ICU stays for COVID-19 patients at high altitudes and serves as an accessible and cost-effective measure. It should be used in infected patients to complement the prognosis of post-pandemic ICU stay. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)
14 pages, 1792 KiB  
Article
Impact of Foodborne Disease in Taiwan during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Ya-Lu Yang, Cheng-Chueh Chen, Pi-Wei Chin, Chun-Gu Cheng and Chun-An Cheng
Medicina 2024, 60(3), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60030505 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1267
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the first case diagnosed since January 2020 in Taiwan. The study about the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on event, location, food source, and pathogens [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the first case diagnosed since January 2020 in Taiwan. The study about the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on event, location, food source, and pathogens of foodborne disease (FBD) is limited in Taiwan. Our aim in this study is to investigate FBD in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and Methods: We collected publicly available annual summary data from the FBD dataset in the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration and Certifiable Disease on reported FBD in Taiwan from 2019 to 2020. We used logistic regression to evaluate changes in the occurrence or likelihood of FBD cases and Poisson regression to examine the relative risk (RR) between FBD and climate factors. Results: Similar events occurred in 2019 and 2020, but the total number of FBD cases decreased from 6935 in 2019 to 4920 in 2020. The places where FBD decreased were in schools, hospitals, outdoors, vendors, and exteriors. The top place in FBD shifted from schools to restaurants. The top food source for FBD has changed from boxed food to compound food. Bacillus cereus and Salmonella emerged as the top two observed bacterial pathogens causing FBD. The risk of FBD cases increased with a higher air temperature, with an RR of 1.055 (1.05–1.061, p < 0.001) every 1 °C. Conclusion: The incidence of FBD decreased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan. This decline may be attributed to protective measures implemented to control the spread of the virus. This shift in locations could be influenced by changes in public behavior, regulations, or other external factors. The study emphasizes the importance of understanding the sources and effectiveness of severe infection prevention policies. The government can use these findings to formulate evidence-based policies aimed at reducing FBD cases and promoting public health. Consumers can reduce the risk of FBD by following safe food handling and preparation recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)
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10 pages, 480 KiB  
Article
Menstrual Changes Following COVID-19 Vaccination: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Nahid Ibrahim Fallatah, Bushra Omar Alrehaili, Salhah Saleh Alsulami and Abdulmohsen Hamdan Al-Zalabani
Medicina 2024, 60(2), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60020206 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1299
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Menstrual changes, including altered cycle length and bleeding patterns, have been reported following COVID-19 vaccination. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and types of menstrual changes occurring after COVID-19 vaccination among female students and staff at a university [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Menstrual changes, including altered cycle length and bleeding patterns, have been reported following COVID-19 vaccination. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and types of menstrual changes occurring after COVID-19 vaccination among female students and staff at a university in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among women aged 18–39 years who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible participants, including university students and staff, were recruited between May 2022 and November 2022. Participants completed a questionnaire detailing their sociodemographic characteristics, general medical and reproductive history, and menstrual characteristics before and after vaccination. The prevalence of various menstrual changes (cycle length, bleeding days, flow, and mid-cycle spotting) was calculated. The demographic factors associated with menstrual changes were analyzed using chi-squared tests. Results: The 472 included participants had a mean age of 20.9 years, and 95.3% were unmarried. Changes in menstrual cycle characteristics after COVID-19 vaccination were reported by 54.7% of respondents overall. The most common change was in cycle length, followed by the number of menstruation days and bleeding flow. Menstrual changes were not associated with age, BMI, occupation, marital status, or medical history. Changes in intermenstrual bleeding were more frequently reported after the third dose of the Pfizer vaccine compared to the Moderna vaccine (p = 0.014). Conclusions: More than half of the recruited female students and staff reported menstrual changes following COVID-19 vaccination, with altered cycle length being the most common. The potential underlying mechanisms and implications of these menstrual alterations require further investigation. These findings provide evidence of the menstrual side effects of COVID-19 vaccines among women in Saudi Arabia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)
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19 pages, 382 KiB  
Article
Evolving Mental Health Dynamics among Medical Students amid COVID-19: A Comparative Analysis of Stress, Depression, and Alcohol Use among Medical Students
by Codruța Alina Popescu, Ana Maria Tegzeșiu, Soimița Mihaela Suciu, Bogdan Florin Covaliu, Sebastian Mihai Armean, Tudor Adrian Uță and Alexandru Constantin Sîrbu
Medicina 2023, 59(10), 1854; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina59101854 - 18 Oct 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1317
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has posed an array of new challenges for medical students worldwide. Amidst academic rigors, students are confronted with unique stressors, potentially affecting their mental health and substance use. This study aimed to investigate the multifaceted [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has posed an array of new challenges for medical students worldwide. Amidst academic rigors, students are confronted with unique stressors, potentially affecting their mental health and substance use. This study aimed to investigate the multifaceted effects of depression, alcohol use, and stress on medical students and discern how these factors have been amplified by the pandemic’s circumstances, and to identify predictors of mental distress during the COVID-19 pandemic period. Materials and Methods: Two online anonymous and cross-sectional surveys were conducted at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Hatieganu” in Romania among medical students in 2018 and in 2022. Data were gathered via online questionnaires distributed through closed student groups on social media platforms, with a total of 1061 participants, to investigate stress, depression, alcohol and drug use, and the impact of the pandemic and online education on mental health, maintaining anonymity and ethical approval. The Medical Student Stress Questionnaire (MSSQ) was employed to measure different aspects of stress, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) provided insights into the participants’ depressive symptoms, and for the assessment of alcohol consumption habits, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) was utilized. Results: Our findings showed a significant decrease in mean depression scores (13.81 vs. 11.56, with p < 0.001) from 2018 to 2022. In 2018, students scored significantly higher in the overall stress-related domains. Additionally, being female, facing financial constraints, and being in pre-clinical years emerged as predictors of heightened academic-related stress and depressive symptoms. Students who had experienced the loss of a family member due to COVID-19 exhibited a statistically significant rise in their average BDI score and current anxiety levels. Conclusions: The pandemic, despite introducing new stressors, may have indirectly fostered an increased focus on students’ mental health, leading to more refined support mechanisms. Specialized interventions, taking into account gender and financial problems, are needed to address the multifaceted challenges faced by medical students. Our study highlights the ongoing need to nurture both the academic and emotional strength of future medical practitioners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)

Review

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32 pages, 1478 KiB  
Review
Status of Healthy Choices, Attitudes and Health Education of Children and Young People in Romania—A Literature Review
by Alexandra-Ioana Roșioară, Bogdana Adriana Năsui, Nina Ciuciuc, Dana Manuela Sîrbu, Daniela Curșeu, Anca Lucia Pop, Codruța Alina Popescu and Monica Popa
Medicina 2024, 60(5), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60050725 - 27 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Background and Objectives: This study aims to assess the health status and factors influencing healthy choices among children and young people in Romania, as well as the efficacy of related health education programs. Through understanding these dynamics, the study seeks to provide [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: This study aims to assess the health status and factors influencing healthy choices among children and young people in Romania, as well as the efficacy of related health education programs. Through understanding these dynamics, the study seeks to provide insights that can shape targeted interventions, policies, and educational strategies to improve this demographic’s overall health and well-being. Materials and Methods: For this study, we performed a literature review of original published papers on the health status, healthy habits, health education, predisposition to making healthy choices in the future, and accessibility to the paediatric health system of Romanian children and young people, as well as the effects of different types of educational interventions on this demographic in Romania. Results: The prevalence of dental caries is high in Romania. In terms of eating habits and nutritional status, a worrying proportion of children are overweight or obese, which can lead to a variety of future physical and psychological problems. In terms of physical activity, few adolescents demonstrate regular fitness practices. Romania presents an increase in alcohol and tobacco consumption among adolescents. The mental health of students has become a pressing public health concern, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of social networks is linked to mental health issues among young people. Romania still has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases and faces a high incidence of cervical cancer, with a mortality rate three times higher than the EU average. High rates of teenage pregnancies are linked to limited information about sexuality and a lack of access to family planning at a young age. There are large discrepancies in the accessibility of medical services between urban and rural areas. Conclusions: Romania faces significant obstacles to providing high-quality healthcare to children and young people. Improving nutrition, immunisation rates, and access to medical services represent essential areas for enhancing the health of children and young people in Romania. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)
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10 pages, 287 KiB  
Review
Current German Recommendations and International Research on the Use of COVID-19 Boosters among Health Care Providers in 2024: A Narrative Review
by Poramate Pitak-Arnnop, Popchai Ngamskulrungroj, Nithi Mahanonda, Prim Auychai, Benjamin Frech, Veronika Shavlokhova and Christian Stoll
Medicina 2024, 60(3), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60030385 - 25 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1300
Abstract
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has de-escalated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from a global health emergency, ongoing discussions persist as new viral variants. This article aimed to consolidate German recommendations and international research to offer health care providers (HCPs) a comprehensive guide [...] Read more.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has de-escalated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from a global health emergency, ongoing discussions persist as new viral variants. This article aimed to consolidate German recommendations and international research to offer health care providers (HCPs) a comprehensive guide on COVID-19 boosters in 2024. The review outlines key recommendations from the German Robert Koch Institute. HCPs should receive COVID-19 boosters at least 12 months after their last vaccination or COVID-19 infection, contingent on the prevalent viral variant(s) in the region. However, excessive doses and/or frequent boosters, especially with mRNA vaccines, may lead to immune imprinting, T-cell exhaustion, and immunoglobulin (Ig) switching. Notably, this review highlights the significance of Ig, particularly IgA and IgG subclasses, in influencing infection risk and disease progression. Furthermore, it explores the implications of mRNA vaccine technology and potential adverse effects related to excessive dosing. In conclusion, this article provides a comprehensive analysis of COVID-19 vaccine boosters for HCPs, synthesising current recommendations, scientific debates, and considerations for optimising protection against SARS-CoV-2 in the evolving landscape of the post-pandemic era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact on Human Health, Lifestyle and Quality of Care after COVID-19)
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