LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As scientists continue to discover more about COVID-19, neurologists like Dr. Greg Cooper have seen COVID-related cognitive impairment in some patients that have come to Norton Hospitals in Louisville. He noted a wide range in the severity.
“Some of the common things we see are confusion. About 1.5% of people may have a seizure nearly 2% of people may have a stroke. Those are the people with fairly severe forms of the illness,” said Cooper, the medical director of Norton Neuroscience Institute Memory Care.
Cooper said more people have been able to recover from COVID-19 in their homes without requiring a hospital. But most of those people are also having long term symptoms with the most common type being muscle aches.
Viral infections have a history of causing long lasting neurological conditions as well.
“It has been shown to a much smaller in previous pandemics, after that pandemic there is a higher rate or incident of dementia in people who contracted those viruses,” he said.
The concern that many are feeling in the medical world is that this pandemic may lead to a great increase in the number of individuals with dementia in the future.
That’s why the Alzheimer’s Association and scientists in 30 countries are forming gan international consortium to track and assess COVID-19 patients. Dr. Cooper said that the research will be helpful.
“We really need to learn and understand what to expect and prepare for that,” he said.
The services that can help people with these long term conditions depend on where you live so it is a good idea to refer to your local health department.
In Louisville, Norton Healthcare has one of the COVID-19 outpatient clinics that treat people who have side effects from COVID-19. Cooper is hopeful that symptoms like brain fog, headaches, and muscle aches will resolve themselves.
“There’s a lot that we don’t know. I am optimistic that we will get through this pandemic and those that are having chronic and long-haul symptoms will get better over time,” he said.