Bronson doctors warn of neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients

Posted at 1:49 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 13:49:41-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Bronson Health doctors say they’re seeing a trend in mental or neurological conditions with COVID-19 patients.

Nationally, a third of patients with the virus develop a neurological or psychological condition within six months of their diagnosis, according to a news release Thursday.

That trend increases to about 50% with patients who were hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19, according to statistics published in The Lancet Psychiatry and shared by Bronson Health.

Anxiety (17%) and mood disorders (14%) were the most common neuropsychiatric diagnoses.

More rare findings include 0.6% developed a brain hemorrhage, 2.1% experienced an ischemic stroke and 0.67% were diagnosed with dementia.

Though they don’t have local data specifically evaluating long-term effects of COVID-19, Bronson Neuroscience experts say they’ve seen “nearly the full spectrum” of these illnesses.

For neurological conditions, that includes central nervous system diseases, like strokes and meningitis, and peripheral nervous system diseases, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

SEE MORE: Lasting neurological issues found in post-COVID patients

Some of the most serious complications reported are related to an increased risk of blood clotting, resulting in heart attacks, strokes and blood clots in the lungs of otherwise healthy individuals.

Similarly, psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression, as well as newly diagnosed dementia and psychosis are occurring in patients after they had COVID-19.

“The cause of these conditions is a result of whole body inflammation and in some cases a chronic lack of sufficient oxygen in response to the virus,” said Dr. Larry Morgan, neurocritical care specialist at Bronson Methodist Hospital. “There is also mounting evidence to suggest that the virus is able to directly infect brain cells. It also is likely due in part to the psychological stress of dealing with the unknowns once someone realizes they are sick.”

Those who have had COVID-19 and begin experiencing certain symptoms should contact their doctor: memory loss, difficulty concentrating, brain fog and trouble sleeping, as well as mental health issues such as anxiety.