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Neurological disorders trigger epidemic amid pandemic: Experts

The hospitals are reporting an alarming rise in post-Covid patients coming with neuro disorders including brain haemorrhage.

Ashish Srivastava | New Delhi |

A new sort of epidemic is rising among those who have survived the Covid-19 pandemic. The recovered Covid-19 survivors are facing trouble getting back to their lives. The biggest hurdle amid their path of total recovery is the long haul which is turning into a multi-system disorder involving almost every organ system of the body.

However, the disease burden of neurological and psychological issues are rising among the Covid survivors.

The hospitals are reporting an alarming rise in post-Covid patients coming with neuro disorders including brain haemorrhage.

Moolchand Hospital told The Statesman that it has been recording “increasing cases of intracerebral (brain) haemorrhage, and 50 per cent of the neuroscience department is filled with such cases”.

“Majority of these cases are those who have had Covid-19 infection in the past, with a gap of two to three months,” Dr Asha Bakshi, a senior neurosurgeon at Moolchand.

Prof (Dr) MV Padma Srivastava, Head of Department, Neurology, AIIMS, New Delhi said that neurosciences and mental health issues have turned out as extremely important phenomena in the long Covid.

“We have seen brain haemorrhages, strokes, among patients suffering from Covid-19 and also among the recovered one. Even nerve palsy and Guillain-Barr√© Syndrome have also been reported,” she told The Statesman.

Dr Sumana Arora, Vice President, clinical services, at DayToDay Health, a telemedicine service, estimated that 1-3 per cent of patients who suffered severe Covid-19 infection are reporting critical neuro issues like stroke and brain haemorrhage.

However, in the post-COVID scenario, common neurological problems are also impacting the survivors at large.

Prof Srivastava said that complaints of headache, fatigue, depression and mental fog have become common among survivors of Covid-19.

“Complaints such as headache, giddiness, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, memory problems, anxiety, depression, stroke, pain and sleep disorders have become increasingly common among all kinds of Covid survivors whether they have suffered from mild, moderate or severe forms of Covid-19,” she added.

However, the experience of Dr Arora indicated that serious neurological complications are majorly reported among those who have suffered from a severe form of Covid-19 infection.

“We have seen that in severe Covid-19 cases, hospitalized patients developed more neurological complications. It may arise from direct effects of the virus as well as clinical response to the infection,” she said.

The experts suggested that extreme caution is required after recovery from Covid-19, especially among those who are already under risk factors.

“People with complaints of a blood sugar spike, blood pressure and other comorbidities must practice extreme caution in keeping their health conditions under check. Also, rigorous physical activity is not advised right after recovery from the viral infection,” Prof Srivastava said.

“Besides, if people feel dizziness and headache after recovery, they must consult their physician immediately. The probability to form blood clots is high during and post-Covid infection and can only be prevented with regular screening and follow-up,” she added.