For most people, the worst of COVID-19 has passed. But did you know that long COVID continues to impact about 16 million U.S. adults? And that long COVID now appears to be a neurological, rather than respiratory, disease?
That’s according to a new article in the March 2023 issue of Scientific American, which states that researchers are discovering that the “most common, persistent and disabling symptoms of long COVID are neurological.”
The problems all stem from brain and nerve dysfunction caused by even mild cases of COVID-19, the author writes. And the effects of long COVID respect no demographic. Otherwise healthy young people have it, as do women, older adults, people who smoke, are obese, who suffer a variety of health issues (but particularly autoimmune disease, the article notes), and people living in tough socioeconomic circumstances. Vaccination reduces the risk of long COVID “only slightly,” Scientific American reported in May 2022.
The attention to long COVID marks an important development because many patients reporting its symptoms have felt dismissed by some doctors. But persistence has created results. The National Institutes of Health now is researching long COVID and providers are understanding that “neuropsychiatric symptoms were quite prevalent," Helen Lavretsky, MD, a psychiatrist and professor at UCLA, told Scientific American. (Go here to read the article.)
A number of unknowns remain around long COVID. After all, its symptoms can mirror those of other neurological conditions. If you’re struggling with any of those symptoms and have yet to see a neurologist, it might be time. Call 480 800 4890 to make an appointment with one of our neurologists in Chandler or Mesa.