COVID-19 Brain Damage: Symptoms, Treatment, and Outlook

COVID-19 is the disease caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. If you have COVID-19 you may experience a number of symptoms, such as:

  • fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  • Diarrhea
  • loss of taste or smell

For most people who get COVID-19, these symptoms go away over time, just like any viral infection.

But there are notable differences between COVID-19 and other viral diseases such as the flu, such as B. The potential for serious illness, death and long-term effects in people who recover.

In some people, COVID-19 can cause long-term neurological (brain and nerve) effects, including brain fog. These brain effects can occur during your illness, as soon as you recover, or even many months afterwards.

Studies are ongoing, but researchers believe brain fog can occur due to structural changes in the brain. In this article, we discuss this in detail and look at the research and results.

Just as they affect the body, many types of diseases can affect the brain. In some cases, the effects on the brain can last longer than the disease itself.

Like other pandemics, COVID-19 may be associated with a higher likelihood of post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSD), which can alter how the brain works.

To test this theory, researchers in a Study 2021 compared 173 people who had recovered from COVID-19 to a control group of 169 people who did not have COVID-19.

In two different sessions, the COVID-19 survivors scored significantly higher in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the control group.

Brain scans showed structural and functional changes in the group that had recovered from COVID-19. These included changes in volume and activity in two areas of the brain associated with storing and recalling memories and expressing emotions: the hippocampus and the amygdala.

The researchers noted that these results highlight the importance of mental health care for people who have been through COVID-19 and other traumatic illnesses.

Prolonged symptoms in people who have recovered from COVID-19 have been termed “long COVID” and “post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC)”.

One of the most commonly reported long COVID effects is brain fog. Like other brain effects, brain fog can occur for several reasons, including lack of sleep, low blood sugar, and various diseases and conditions.

COVID brain fog occurs during or after a person gets COVID-19. It is usually temporary but in other cases it can last for some time.

In most cases, the brain fog from COVID-19 will get better on its own, but doctors don’t yet know how long symptoms last on average.

Researchers also don’t yet know how common COVID brain fog is, but they estimate that up to 32 percent of people who have recovered from COVID-19 have brain fog and other brain effects as part of their long COVID symptoms.

Brain fog is described as slower or sluggish thinking and other changes in brain function or thinking ability. People with COVID brain fog describe a range of symptoms and may have difficulty with:

  • attention
  • focus
  • concentration
  • memory recall
  • ability to learn
  • planning
  • following instructions
  • multitasking

Long-term COVID-related brain fog is often temporary and gets better on its own without treatment. We don’t know exactly what causes brain changes or symptoms in COVID, but experts think inflammation may play a role.

According to a 2022 study, there is no single way to treat or manage COVID brain fog. Instead, doctors may recommend several measures, including:

  • Follow a diet and lifestyle plan that helps reduce inflammation
  • Stay active with daily exercise, no matter how low the intensity, to improve blood flow to the brain and body and reduce brain inflammation
  • mental exercises, such as jigsaw puzzles, to stimulate thinking
  • socializing and spending time with friends and family

Some supplements and medications can also help relieve or reduce inflammation.

researchers in a 2021 laboratory study studied a natural anti-inflammatory supplement called luteolin found in olive pomace oil. They found that luteolin can help the brain recover from long-term COVID and other causes of brain fog, including chemotherapy.

However, this was just a chemical laboratory study. No human or animal studies have been conducted to date. Be sure to consult your doctor before using any type of herbal or oil supplement.

Researchers aren’t sure why some people recovering from COVID-19 experience brain fog and others don’t. However, a 2022 study suggests that some illnesses or factors may increase your chances of getting long-lasting COVID symptoms like brain fog.

These risk factors include:

  • previous mental illnesses, such as B. major depression
  • PTSD
  • Family history or early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • stroke or heart problems
  • moderate or high weight gain during or after COVID-19
  • poor diet
  • lack of exercise
  • Lack of social and mental stimulation

How common is brain damage from COVID-19?

Researchers don’t yet know how common brain changes caused by COVID-19 are. However, brain health clinics report that an average of 32 percent of people who have recovered from COVID-19 have experienced brain fog.

Is brain damage from COVID-19 permanent?

In most cases, brain changes from COVID-19 are temporary and go away on their own.

Can Even Mild COVID-19 Symptoms Lead to Brain Damage?

A 2021 review of studies found that brain fog and other brain effects can occur even after mild COVID-19 symptoms. Researchers don’t know exactly why this happens or how common it is to have long COVID brain symptoms after a mild illness.

Is my loss of smell and taste from COVID-19 a result of brain damage?

Loss of smell and taste during and after COVID-19 is a very common complaint. researcher don’t know exactly why this is happening.

The temporary loss of smell and taste can also occur in people suffering from very mild nasal symptoms of COVID-19, such as: B. a blocked or runny nose.

For this reason, doctors assume that loss of smell and taste may be due to inflammation or changes in the olfactory (smell) system in the brain. Research on this common COVID-19 symptom is ongoing.

If you had COVID-19 and now have symptoms of long-term COVID illness, such as B. Brain fog, you are not alone. Brain changes and persistent symptoms of COVID-19 are common. Research on why they happen is ongoing.

Tell a doctor about any symptoms or changes you notice, even if they appear months after you got sick with COVID-19.

Make sure you and your loved ones get all recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination can help protect you from COVID-19 prevent severe symptoms such as affecting the brain and reducing the risk of spreading the infection to someone else.

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