With the recent announcements of the pending approvals of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there is hope that we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with 6-figure totals for daily new cases and more than 80,000 total US hospitalizations, and the holiday season ahead of us, we are not yet out of the woods. Despite seeing increasing media coverage, a somewhat less addressed problem is that of the long-term health effects of COVID-19 across the population of those who were hospitalized, those with mild-moderate disease progression, and those who were otherwise asymptomatic.
According to recent studies, 10-50% or more of COVID-19 patients may experience lingering symptoms. These symptoms appear to affect all demographic segments such as both the young and old, and both the healthy and those with pre-existing conditions. These can include:
- Body aches
- Joint pain
- Shortness of breath
New York Neurology Associates has been particularly concerned with the propagation of neurological symptoms such as:
- New or continuing change in the senses of smell and taste
- Brain fog
- Memory issues
- Confusion and lack of concentration
COVID-19 has been observed to cause a number of neurological issues. One way in which this occurs is due to the side-effects of treatment during COVID-19 hospitalization. Peripheral nerve injury has been observed in patients who were placed in a prone position while on ventilators. The processes of intubation and prolonged hospitalization, though necessary at the time, may contribute to neurological damage. Other ways by which neurological damage occurs due to COVID-19 may have to do with the virus itself and the ways it attacks the body. The virus may be directly affecting the nervous system or indirectly through its effects on the immune system - but there is not yet consensus or extensive research on the mechanisms of action. Nonetheless, it seems that there is an association between COVID-19 and neurological symptoms. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has speculated that some of these symptoms may be due to the virus causing the development of myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome.
As the virus and its effects on the human body continue to be studied, the mechanisms of action will become better understood leading to more effective treatments. Once vaccination begins we can hope that the circumstances of the pandemic will improve and new case and hospitalization numbers will decrease. However, the long-term effects of the virus will continue to be felt by many of those infected for time to come. While much uncertainty remains, existing treatments for the listed symptoms do exist and may be helpful for those suffering from them.
At NYNA, we treat patients for conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, brain fog, memory issues, pain, and headaches. Taking all necessary safety precautions, NYNA has continued to provide neurological treatment to our patients throughout the pandemic. To schedule a consultation for yourself or a loved one who may be experiencing these symptoms, call (646) 679-6609 or click the link below.