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Is COVID-19 causing strokes in young, healthy people?

Doctors have discovered a deadly side effect of COVID-19 in young adults: strokes. Across the country, doctors are reporting otherwise healthy COVID-19 patients are suffering from strokes at alarming rates.

Several patients who had strokes were only in their 30s or 40s. Typically, most strokes occur in adults 65 and older. The New England Journal of Medicine reported five COVID-19 patients under the age of 50 suffered from severe, “large-vessel” strokes in a two-week period in April. By comparison from the past year, only .73 adults under the age of 50 suffered from large-vessel strokes in any given two-week period.

Younger COVID-19 patients are mostly experiencing extreme, large-vessel strokes. Large-vessel strokes can permanently affect the parts of the brain responsible for movement, speech, and decision-making.

Doctors don’t yet know why COVID-19 patients are having strokes, but it could be related to the blood clots some COVID-19 patients are developing. If blood clots, which are being suffered by coronavirus patients in “unprecedented” numbers, travel too close to the brain, it can cause a patient to have a stroke.

Sources: Washington Post, The New England Journal of Medicine, NPR, Popular Science


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