Covid-19 can affect the brain. An expert tells you all about it

Published on: 21 January 2022, 16:02 pm IST
Covid-19 is impacting people differently. Some face respiratory issues, while some face brain-related problems. Come, find out what it can do to your brain.
Dr (Lt Gen) CS Narayanan
Are you battling headaches and confusion after Covid-19? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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The COVID-19 pandemic has created havoc, the world has witnessed millions of deaths, countless cases, and the situation is not getting better. People who have recovered from COVID-19 are experiencing post-covid symptoms that are long-term, affecting the respiratory system, gastrointestinal and brain-related issues.

Recent studies have evidence of the Covid-19 variant and its impact on brain tissues.

According to experts from Johns Hopkins Precision Medicine Center of Excellence for Neurocritical Care and an online study published in Nature Journal proves that the Covid-19 virus has side effects that impact brain functioning, ranging from simple confusion to severe conditions like stroke.

Over stressing is not suitable for your brain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which largely targeted the respiratory system in Covid-19 patients, has later shown cases with patients encountering confusion, disorientation, agitation, and the symptoms are getting frightening. With the new variants and mutation of the virus in each wave, the brain problems now include stroke, brain hemorrhage, prolonged unconsciousness, memory loss, and other brain-related issues.

The highly transmissible Omicron variant, which is spreading faster than the Delta variant, shows similar symptoms and can have severe side effects. The new findings from the New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine indicate the ill effect of the Omicron variant on the brain especially, on the older population who survived from Covid-19. There are several traces of neurological damage due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the commonly experienced problems that can be associated with severe brain damage and should not be neglected are:

* Confusion
* Headaches
* Change in behaviour/ feelings
* Trouble focusing
* Unconsciousness

Commonly known as brain fog, these neurological symptoms can be seen in many patients. These symptoms that are seen generally after recovering from the COVID-19 influence the brain functioning and nervous system.

Who is getting Covid-19 brain problems?

People can experience brain problems after recovering from Covid-19 due to several reasons. Although there is no clarity about who is most likely to develop brain conditions, the available data shows that the Covid-19 virus is strong enough to invade the brain cells, harming the brain, heart, kidney, and other organs.

1. Psychological Conditions

The whole Covid-19 situation has become the new normal and has altered many lives. People are still struggling and finding ways to cope-up with this situation. The severity of the disease has a traumatic effect on a large scale.

To resolve brain issues you need to be careful with its health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Survivors of Covid-19 who experienced near-death situations and patients staying alone are particularly impacted. These people may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Covid-19 patients also undergo confusion, memory loss, anxiety, or depression.

2. Duration of COVID-19 brain problems

Any severe disease may cause headaches and lack of concentration in patients. Even people recovering from high-grade fever have difficulty focusing for a few days and getting back to a normal state. The current studies related to this matter are not sufficient to give the exact time required to recover from Covid-19 neurological problems.

There can be several other risk factors associated, and people may need therapy and medications. Some may take 3-5 months, and some cases may take even a year, and for some, it might stay forever.

3. Recovering from Covid-19 brain problems

Adopting healthy habits and improving lifestyles are important for recovery. A few ways to boost your brain functioning after recovering from Covid-19 are:

  • Take plenty of sleep. This can help your brain cells recover faster.
  • Stay active. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help your body and other organs to function better and improve your overall health.
  • Eat well. Include seasonal fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Stay hydrated and three meals a day to refill your lost energy due to COVID-19 infection.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, sodium, sugar, packaged food, and anything that can weaken your immune power and hinder the recovery process.

Scientists and researchers are working day and night to find ways to end the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, but till we do not have a permanent solution, follow the protocols and stay safe.

Dr (Lt Gen) CS Narayanan

Dr (Lt Gen) CS Narayanan is a renowned neurologist from Manipal Hospital.

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