What We Know About COVID-19 and Strokes

What We Know About COVID-19 and Strokes

Even during the early days of the pandemic, doctors noted an increase in strokes among patients who had been diagnosed with COVID-19. And in many cases, COVID-related strokes occurred in individuals under age 50 who otherwise had a fairly mild reaction to the virus. 

Board-certified neurologist Dr. Andrew Lerman, at Gables Neurology in Miami, Florida, offers the most innovative and effective therapies available for a wide variety of neurological disorders that affect the adult population.

Committed to providing his community with reliable information regarding COVID-19, Dr. Lerman discusses what is known about COVID-19 and your neurological health, including stroke risk and the difficulties associated with long-haul or long COVID syndrome.

Understanding COVID-19 and stroke

Although COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory virus, continuing research shows that it also has significant effects on your vascular health (that which affects your blood vessels) and your risk of stroke. 

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is a complex virus that attaches to a specific molecule (receptor) that’s most prevalent in lung cells. However, these receptors are also found in cells that occur within the lining of blood vessels throughout your body.

As it works its way through your bloodstream, the infection and resulting inflammation can cause the walls of your arteries, veins, and capillaries to weaken and leak. This can result in significant damage to the surrounding tissue, and may be the underlying trigger for some of the neurological symptoms related to the virus.

COVID-19 can also cause blood cells to clump together and form clots that restrict blood flow through your arteries. This type of restriction can occur in the arteries carrying oxygenated blood to your brain and result in an acute (sudden) ischemic stroke (AIS). 

Stroke symptoms

Whether related to COVID-19 or not, symptoms of stroke typically occur suddenly and may include:

Strokes related to COVID-19 may occur during hospitalization due to severe illness, but have also been noted in individuals who may have had only mild symptoms or are recovering from their initial illness.

A stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency requiring immediate care. If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, call 911. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your odds of surviving a stroke and also help you overcome its effects on your neurological function.

What is long-haul COVID syndrome?

The American Medical Association (AMA) notes that “long COVID” may affect as many as 80% of individuals who experienced even asymptomatic COVID. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and may last for weeks to months after the initial infection. 

Long-haul COVID neurological symptoms may include:

For long-haul COVID treatment, Dr. Lerman may recommend various medications, physical therapy, and other strategies designed to help reduce your symptoms and speed your recovery. 

For more information regarding long COVID, stroke rehab, or any of the other services we offer, schedule a consultation with Dr. Lerman today at Gables Neurology by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Our Favorite Tricks for Improving Memory

Our Favorite Tricks for Improving Memory

While you might like to forget a few of your youthful adventures, many adults worry about losing their mental sharpness as they age. Our neurological team is happy to provide tips for keeping your memory intact as the years progress.

Diet Changes That Support Brain Health

Can changing the foods you eat guarantee a healthy brain? Probably not. However, your diet can do much to help ensure your brain receives the nutrients it needs for healthy function. Learn more from our team about diet and brain health.
Neurological Conditions That May Be Hereditary

Neurological Conditions That May Be Hereditary

Some neurological conditions are inherited and easily identifiable at birth. Others develop slowly over time and may or may not be related to genetics. Still, it’s important to understand your family history. Here’s why … 
Helping a Loved One After They’ve Had a Stroke

Helping a Loved One After They’ve Had a Stroke

Caring for a loved one following a stroke is challenging, sometimes exhausting, and frequently highly rewarding as you participate in their gains. Learn more from our team about stroke recovery and how you can help.