COVID-19’s Impact on Neurological Diseases
Understanding the vast depths of the impact of COVID-19 and its effects on neurological diseases
It’s an understatement that COVID has made an impact on our economy. It is fair to say that it’s made the most tremendous impact on its people.
Especially those that have underlying health conditions — like neurological diseases.
What are Neurological Diseases?
Neurons are information messengers. They use impulses and chemical signals to send and receive information in the body
One can infer that neurological diseases are diseases that arise in the brain, hence the word ‘neuro(n)’ in the phrase. They can also branch out to other nerves found in the body and the spinal cord. Due to this, neurological diseases are known to be one of the more dangerous diseases as it affects how your neurons function.
Covid 19 Quick Statistics
Because of vaccines, coronavirus cases are decreasing in many regions of the world. However, as COVID-19 finds ways to mutate, its variants eventually become more complex and deadly.
Just in America alone, every 1 in 14 people at some point in their lives contracted COVID-19.
Many reports that they attained headaches and fevers due to COVID-19. But there are much more severe cases, specifically those that migrate to the brain.
Understanding the Difference
It’s important to know the distinction between SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19.
In 2019, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that originated in China. The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Although coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated primarily with mild illness, recent data show that SARS-CoV-2 can infect a large number of vital organs beyond the lungs, such as the heart, kidneys, and the brain. Thus, there is evidence showing possible transmission to regions of the brain stem.
Does COVID-19 Affect Everyone Neurologically?
It’s vital to note that many neurological effects of COVID-19 are likely caused by the body’s immune system. If an immune system is weak, it’s more prone to diseases that can possibly detrimentally hurt the body.
“Critical neurological events were more frequent among patients with a severe infection than those with mild disease,” the researchers said.
Often, those who are already compromised and have underlying health effects will undergo a more severe impact from the virus.
Can COVID-19 Cause Other Neurological Disorders?
In some people, response to the coronavirus has been shown to increase the risk of stroke, dementia, muscle and nerve damage, encephalitis, and vascular disorders. Some researchers think the unbalanced immune system caused by reacting to the coronavirus may lead to autoimmune diseases.
Anecdotal reports of other diseases and conditions that may be triggered by the immune system response to COVID-19 include:
- Multi-system inflammatory syndrome — which causes inflammation in the body’s blood vessels
- Transverse myelitis — an inflammation of the spinal cord
- Guillain-Barré syndrome— a rare neurological disorder that can range from brief weakness to nearly devastating paralysis, leaving the person unable to breathe independently
- Dysautonomia — dysfunction of the autonomic nerve system, which is involved with functions such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control
- Acute disseminating encephalomyelitis (ADEM) — an attack on the protective myelin covering of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord
- Acute necrotizing hemorrhagic encephalopathy — a rare type of brain disease that causes lesions in certain parts of the brain and bleeding (hemorrhage) that can cause tissue death (necrosis)
- Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms have been reported in a few individuals who had no family history of early signs of the disease
Scientists are still learning how the virus affects the brain and other organs in the long term. Research is just beginning to focus on the role of autoimmune reactions and other changes that cause the set of symptoms that some people experience after their initial recovery. It is unknown if the injury to the nervous system or other body organs causes lingering effects that will resolve over time, or whether COVID-19 infection sets up a more persistent or even chronic disorder.
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