In the weeks and months following the COVID-19 infection, patients often continue to experience various neurological issues that may or not impede their daily routines. These symptoms indeed depend on each person’s infection level. As more research results become available, post-COVID neurological symptoms are coming to light. They are most likely attributed to an immune response within the body as it responds to the infection, not the virus. This infection and immune response directly affect the nervous system or brain.
While not everyone exhibits post-COVID neurological symptoms, for those that do, it’s essential to be aware of what they are and how they affect overall health.
What Are Post-COVID Neurological Symptoms?
The neurological impacts of COVID-19 infection extend weeks and months afterward and may result from nerve damage, such as peripheral neuropathy.
Post-COVID Neurological Symptoms include:
- Post-exertional malaise (not feeling well for a few days after exercise or exertion)
- Cognitive impairment, including confusion and delirium
- Difficulty with memory and concentration
- Muscle pain and aching joints
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste or smell
- Fevers and chills
- Breathing difficulties
- Chronic or Infrequent Headaches (mild to severe)
- Fluctuating heart rate
- Alternating sense of cold and hot
- Shortness of breath
- Sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep, insomnia, and daytime sleepiness
Patients may also be at a higher risk for the following:
- Vascular disorders
- Nerve or Muscle Damage
- Facial nerve palsies (e.g., Bell’s Palsy)
- Guillain-Barre syndrome (affecting nerves),
- Transverse myelitis (affecting the spinal cord)
- Acute necrotizing leukoencephalopathy (affecting the brain)
It’s essential to note that some patients may experience neurological symptoms months after COVID. For that reason, it’s imperative that they continue to monitor their health and attend all medical appointments and follow-ups.
Psychological Aftereffects of COVID-19 Infection
In the aftermath of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, those infected can also suffer psychological issues, which may be temporary or long-term.
While the outbreak tested people’s emotions everywhere, those with the infection often may exhibit the following psychological aftereffects:
Experiencing stress differs from person to person and can continue to exist long after the infection. Fear itself can wreak havoc on defense systems and thought processes, and the stress accompanying it is not easy to relieve.
Extreme sadness and depression can result from various reasons, such as missing the life they had before and so much more.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Due to isolation, fear of death, and intense stress over being hospitalized or receiving critical care, PTSD can result in many patients.
Grief can follow those infected for what occurred and what they could have done differently. Also, the contagious nature of COVID-19 may stay in their mind, especially when others within the patient’s family, neighbors, friends, or co-workers die due to the virus. Grief can be overwhelming and debilitating in the months that follow.
The emotional state of someone who experienced a COVID-19 infection may be compromised, causing mood disorders. This is where emotions or moods become distorted, even inconsistent, and interfere with the ability to function daily.
On-going anxiety is a common psychological aftereffect of a COVID infection, including constant concern that it will come back, cause additional problems, or affect someone they love.
While patients may recover from the infection, both neurological and psychological issues can follow and continue for weeks, months, and even years.
Post COVID-19 Neurological Syndrome (PCNS) is a post-viral syndrome caused by your brain and body’s response to the SARS CoV-2 virus. According to several studies and reports on this, PCNS is the brain’s immune response to the body’s immunological reactions to the active infection. Because of an inflammatory response to SARS-CoV‑2, the body produces special proteins called cytokines that have an impact on cell communication. Since the SARS CoV-2 virus can cause damage to the blood-brain barrier, these cytokines can enter the central nervous system (CNS) and accumulate there eventually causing prolonged or short-term neurological symptoms.
When to See a Neurologist
As of now, the exact neurological short-term and long-term effects of COVID- 19 are still being researched. If you’re experiencing lingering or unexplained neurological issues after recovering from COVID-19 then you should make an appointment to see your local neurologist as quickly as possible. Even though some neurological symptoms may eventually resolve themselves, seeking medical attention from your neurologist as soon as possible can help you learn to better manage or improve your condition.
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With a career focused on digital marketing, Chitra is a specialized SEO-Content marketer. After moving from biotechnology to business operations and marketing, Chitra started her digital marketing career as a freelance content developer and technical writer. With Axiom, as a content marketing & SEO specialist, she is passionate about creating informative marketing copies for optimum search engine performance.