People with pre-existing neurological conditions—including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias—are more likely to develop subsequent neurological problems after COVID-19, according to a new study.
The Global Consortium Study of Neurologic Dysfunction in COVID-19 found that those who experienced COVID-related neurological symptoms have a six-fold higher risk of in-hospital mortality from the virus. These COVID-related neurological symptoms range from loss of smell to severe events such as a stroke. Researchers found that individuals who survived neurological COVID-related symptoms are likely to require ongoing post-acute care.
Results from one study group showed 82% of 3,700 subjects had self-reported or clinically diagnosed neurological symptoms ranging from headaches to loss of taste or smell. Clinicians observed that about half of these patients experienced acute encephalopathy (brain inflammation) that temporarily impacted cognitive function. Nearly a fifth (17%) of patients experienced a coma, and 6% experienced a stroke.
Such studies suggest that millions of COVID survivors are likely to have health problems that require care long after they recuperate from the virus. Long-term care providers should expect some COVID patients to need specialized care for cognitive problems, stroke rehabilitation, and other issues.
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