New diseases rarely affect numerous people at the same time. They might affect a few people living in one household or working in the same environment. COVID-19 changed everything by quickly causing a global pandemic, leaving many survivors with strange symptoms that took them back to their doctors.
Recent research shows neurological conditions persist after a COVID-19 diagnosis. Here's what you should watch for in yourself or your loved ones.
Newfound Anxiety Disorders May Occur
Anyone would expect to develop some level of anxiety during a pandemic. In the first few months, no one knew how to remain safe or what to do if they got sick.
In February, a study found over 62,000 COVID-19 patients and assessed them for mental health diagnoses after they recovered. Of the patients who didn't have a diagnosis before, 19.5% developed an anxiety disorder due to their experience.
Ongoing research will reveal how the virus specifically alters someone's brain chemistry, but until then, researchers connect the changes to how the virus invades the body and the person's experience during their illness.
Healing Can Intensify Mood Disorders
Other researchers focused on the recurring mood disorders in many COVID-19 patients. Based on their surveys from six Massachusetts hospitals, they found that the virus intensified existing mood disorders and put patients at a greater morbidity risk if they already had a condition before their hospitalization.
Future research will follow the link more closely through continued research and technological advances. Until then, mood disorders are another mitigating factor that may influence someone's recovery for varying reasons.
People May Combat Brain Fog
Fighting occasional exhaustion after a long day isn't the same thing as having brain fog. COVID-19 survivors with brain fog battle relentless exhaustion and even memory loss. Researchers connected the experience with COVID-19 by relying on donated cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue. Based on their findings, the virus destroys bone marrow, allowing megakaryocytes to migrate to the brain.
Some people may need to seek immediate medical attention if they exhibit any extreme symptoms such as:
- Pressure in your chest.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Difficulty staying awake.
The general memory loss and confusion could mask something other than residual COVID-19 strains in your body. Schedule a meeting with your doctor if the symptoms interfere with your routine or make you uncomfortable.
Survivors May Experience Strokes
People associate strokes with middle-aged or elderly individuals, but COVID-19 made young people experience them as well. The virus sparks cellular inflammation, which triggers the coagulation process in normal cells. Coagulation creates blood clots, and because COVID-19 infects everyone, young people experience strokes even without preexisting conditions, making strokes more likely.
Everyone should learn about stroke symptoms to get help immediately in case of an emergency. Test for things like:
- One half of a person's face drooping.
- One arm not lifting with the other.
- Slurred or garbled speech.
If you begin dealing with numbness in your leg or tingling in your arm, it's best to call your doctor. They'll perform tests that locate potential clots and prevent a stroke from occurring.
Dementia Symptoms Could Develop
Cytokine storms and intense fevers can result in episodes of delirium for COVID-19 patients, but some still fight the confusing haze even after they recover. Experts estimate that 84% of patients with severe COVID-19 cases experience lasting mental confusion after discharge and recovery.
Ongoing studies will closely investigate how the virus changes a person's brain and why dementia symptoms can begin even for young patients.
Watch for Neurological Conditions After COVID-19 Diagnosis
COVID-19 is still a relatively new virus to the scientific community, even after a year since it began changing the world. Current research shows neurological conditions persist after a COVID-19 diagnosis, and developing studies will eventually explain how likely people are to experience each symptom.
Until the causes are clear, everyone should still follow the latest public health precautions and talk with their doctor if they have any questions or concerns.