CLEVELAND, Ohio — New reports show COVID-19 is causing strokes in young people. Doctors say they're seeing those with stroke symptoms not going to the emergency room, causing even more damage to the brain.

  • Experts say COVID-19 is causing blood clots which, in addition to stroke, can cause clots in extremities, resulting in amputations
  • Doctors say stroke is occurring in people who wouldn't typicall be at risk
  • Doctors are stressing the importance of seeking immediate medical attention at the first signs of a stroke

“So it's been a very interesting finding, of course, as COVID infection is becoming more prominent in different parts of the country, people are discovering new things and new problems that are arising,” said Dr. Shazam Hussain.

Cleveland Clinic neurologist Dr. Shazam Hussain says they began hearing of new COVID-19 side effects from colleagues in New York and Detroit,.

"There was a lot of stroke occurring along with these infections, a lot of these people either coming to the hospital with stroke or are the ones who were in the hospital with the infection actually developing strokes in the hospital," he said.

Dr. Hussain says stroke is occurring in patients who wouldn’t typically be at risk.

”A lot younger patients and those that didn't really have those classic risk factors for stroke, like high blood pressure or other medical problems, these were young, healthy individuals that were developing these stroke problems,” Dr. Hussain said.

While there is more research to be done, Dr. Hussain says COVID does appear to be causing blood clots, “which can result, not only in stroke, but blood clots in other parts of the bodies like in the lungs, even in extremities.There was recently reported, I think everybody heard a report of one of the actors that ended up having his leg amputated because of a blood clot.”

He also says a large amount of people are not coming to the emergency department after suffering a stroke.

“In talking with them, they were starting to tell us that that yeah, the reason why they waited was exactly what you're saying this fear about coming to the hospital, potentially getting infected with the virus or that the hospital was so overwhelmed with people with the infection that they wouldn't be able to get care for their problem," Dr. Hussain said.

Dr Hussain stressed the importance of calling 911 or coming to the emergency room for emergency medical treatment— every minute counts.

“It is something that we're very concerned about because stroke and other medical emergencies, they really do require urgent medical attention. Particularly in stroke, you lose somewhere around the order of 2 million brain cells a minute in the situation of a stroke.”

It’s important to know the symptoms of a stroke:

Doctors use the acronym “BE FAST”

B stands for loss of balance.
E stands for eyes— if you have any trouble with vision.
F stands for droopiness in the face.
A standing for weakness in the arm or leg.
S stands for difficulty with speech.
T stands for time— stressing the importance of quick treatment