Ever since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, people have been subjected to a series of severe and unpredictable complications. Some experienced the wrath of the disease for the period for which they contracted the virus while some patients experienced the symptoms for a prolonged period, even after complete recovery.
Recent studies indicate that Covid-19 patients are at increased risk of neurological conditions. Researchers have reason to believe that there is going to be a steep increase in the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases and diagnoses in the coming years.
The study, which was presented at the European Academy of Neurology Congress in Vienna, highlighted the neurological complications in the patients post COVID.
Results from the study concluded that patients who have contracted Covid are at higher risk of suffering from degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and strokes. The assessment was done in comparison to people who haven’t contracted the Covid-19 virus.
Pardis Zarifkar, the lead author of the study, who works at the Copenhagen University Hospital pointed out the implications and effects of the Covid-19 virus on the onset of various neurological disorders in the patients.
The primary objective of the study was to establish an association between Covid-19 and the various neurological syndromes. The researchers also wanted to see the influence of the Covid-19 virus on the incidence of these degenerative disorders and whether or not they differ from standard respiratory infections.
For a more comprehensive understanding, the researchers analyzed and monitored the data of Denmark’s half the population during the year 2020-2021. The researchers found shocking results from their data analysis.
According to the reports, the people who contracted the Covid-19 virus were 3.5 times at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as opposed to uninfected individuals. Similarly, the rate of incidence of Parkinson’s was 2.6 times more. Covid-19 patients were also 4.8 times at higher risk of experiencing bleeding in the brain.
Furthermore, another alarming issue was the rise in risk of developing an ischemic stroke in the COVID-19 patients by 2.7 times.
Despite these alarming numbers and risks, the lead author of the study, Pardis Zarifkar reports that these increased risks are very similar to the impacts caused by influenza or bacterial pneumonia. However, with the alarming spread of the Covid-19 infection and with millions of people contracting the virus, there is going to be a sharp increase in the incidence of neurogenerative disorders in the coming years.
Zarifkar further added that their study also established a potent correlation between Covid-19 and the risks of cerebrovascular disorders. They found that the risks were higher in Covid-19 patients as opposed to someone who hasn’t contracted the virus.
However, the author suggests that further large registry studies need to be conducted to confirm further suspicions on this subject.
This particular study from Zarifkar et.al further adds to the list of existing studies concerning the relation between Covid-19 and the incidence of degenerative conditions like brain inflammation.
Despite the “conclusions”, the researchers aren’t yet sure how the virus is causing these complications. The researchers are also investigating the role of autoimmune response as a key marker in the development of these neurodegenerative diseases.
What is the Correlation between Alzheimer’s and Covid-19?
Although Zarifkar and their study find potent evidence to suggest that Covid-19 has impacts on the development of Alzheimer’s in the affected patients, there are some counteractive insights too.
Sara Imarsio from Alzheimer’s Research, U.K, said that majority of the neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s are heavily influenced by genetic predisposition, age and even environmental factors.
While Covid-19 might be playing a minor role in enhancing the risks of the onset of these disorders, it isn’t a standalone contributor.
Imarsio also reiterated saying that we still don’t have enough research to conclude how Covid-19 will impact the onset or incidence of certain brain diseases that often take years to develop inside the patient. She believes that it’s too soon to reach a conclusion.
Given that it’s only been 3 years since the onset of Covid-19, reaching conclusions about its impacts on other neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s might be too soon.
However, Imarsio highlighted saying that patients in their early stages of Alzheimer’s might be at higher risk of contracting Covid-19. However, to regard Covid-19 as a sole contributor to any of these neural, cardiovascular, or even cerebrovascular complications might be too soon. Further peer-reviewed publications need to be published to reach a formal conclusion.
How Covid-19 impacts a patient’s body depends on one’s overall physical and physiological well-being. Some patients experience mild to moderate symptoms while a few others experience severe symptoms like pneumonia, heart problems, blood clots, kidney injury, etc.
If you have contracted Covid-19 at any point in your life, prioritize follow-ups, and check-ins with your consulting doctor at regular intervals. Sometimes, the impacts of this viral infection have potent post-recovery complications that are often missed due to lack of follow-ups.
If you are feeling something out of the norm, especially related to breathing, energy levels, and day-to-day activities, consult a doctor and get a series of routine testing done to rule out any possible complications. There is no alternative to testing and timely treatment at this point.