COVID-19’s Effects On The Brain

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Although Covid-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, research suggests it can also lead to brain problems. Affinity Health connects the dots between the coronavirus and neurological disorders.

Many viruses can cross the blood-brain barrier, but is the SARS-CoV-2 virus an exception?

While those infected with Covid-19 may not all experience precisely the same symptoms, many complain of loss of smell and taste, headaches, debilitating fatigue, and trouble thinking clearly. All of these symptoms have researchers curious to know exactly how the coronavirus affects the human brain.

According to researchers at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Covid-19 has many neurological symptoms. These are most likely caused by the body’s overall inflammatory response to infection and associated blood vessel injury, not by infection of the brain tissue itself.

The intense inflammation caused by the COVID-19 infection is called a “cytokine storm” (an immune reaction gone wild). Simply put, the immune system overreacts in its attempt to kill the invading virus and its proteins, doing more harm than good. Brain fog, fatigue, and other cognitive problems are left in the infected person.

“Arguably far more research is needed to determine how COVID-19 affects the brain and brings about the neurological symptoms sometimes seen in people with COVID-19. As we learn more about the many ways COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the body, understanding the neurological symptoms will be critical in helping people, including those with severe symptoms and long Covid-19,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

If someone is experiencing neurological symptoms from COVID-19, what should they do?

“Recognising and recording your symptoms is important,” says Hewlett. “Please write down how serious they are and how they affect your life. Bring this list to a doctor who can help you diagnose your problem and help you with cognitive therapy to recover.

Treating any underlying psychological illness is also important. Memory function can be affected by untreated anxiety, depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), so if you put COVID-19 into the equation, neurological issues can become exasperated.”

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