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Are you experiencing short-term memory loss? Do you feel confused, unable to concentrate? Do you feel agitated with the slightest provocation?
Well, then these are very common neurological symptoms post the covid-19 infection. In the early months of the pandemic, doctors struggled to keep patients breathing, and focused mainly on treating damage to the lungs and the circulatory system. But even then, evidence for neurological effects was accumulating. Some people hospitalized with covid-19 were experiencing delirium – they were confused, disorientated, anxious, depressed, experienced Insomnia and were agitated. Not only this, but some experienced these cognitive impairments months after they made full recovery from the infection. The rate of cognitive impairment was much higher than expected.
Also, read: Can mental health affect your heart health?
Covid-19 can damage the brain directly by causing encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) of any severity. This itself can have devastating effects on the patient. It can also cause a stroke in any age group. Plus, it can cause systemic inflammation that can also lead to indirect neurological damage. Last year, we found that several patients with covid-19 suffered strokes. Earlier, people with co-morbidities and over the age of 65 were more at risk, but now we see evidence that even younger individuals are at seven times the risk of suffering from a stroke during or after covid-19.
Cognitive impairment was noticed in patients with covid-19 infection, which was reversible or partially reversible, and lasted up to 4-7 months. A lot of research is needed to see the long-term effect on nervous tissues. A long-term Italian study reveals that such patients who had no symptoms of cognitive impairment during infection developed them after six months from recovery. Nearly 37.4 % of cases were having cognitive deficit and hyposmia (decreased sense of smell).
Apart from this, people have been reporting brain fog and some longer-term headaches they hadn’t experienced before. That seems to be a pretty core phenomenon in patients who have prolonged covid-19 symptomatology after recovering from the primary infection.
Now, there are hypotheses that say, the neurological symptoms might be a result of overstimulation of the immune system. So, these scenarios require entirely different treatments. More studies need to be conducted to further establish the neurological impact of covid-19. Having said that, people wonder how to identify the neurological impact of covid-19, or rather differentiate it from other brain-related issues.
Some of the symptoms are:
A one-size-fits-all approach to treat long-covid will not work. Therefore, a holistic approach is a must. One should refrain from following trending solutions claiming to fix all such symptoms. A personalized assessment and tailored nutritional management along with physical and psychological coaching are needed to help faster recovery. To lessen its impact, people need to do all things that will help in improving brain health
Moreover, it is also important that we create and encourage a conducive work environment for everyone recovering from post-covid symptoms. Employers must encourage programs to build individuals’ knowledge and confidence to manage their symptoms. The bottom line is that early assessment along with personalized monitoring and management is essential for all people with long-covid symptoms.