Possible Brain Damage, Stroke , Among Other Reasons To Not Lose Your Guard Against COVID-19- Expert, Yomi Ogun Warns

A professor of Internal Medicine/Neurology at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Yomi Ogun, says COVID-19 can cause damage to the brain, spinal cord and the peripheral nerves. According to Ogun, the damage takes many forms and can lead to stroke and encephalitis. Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain, experts say.

The specialist noted that 5.9 percent of stroke among COVID-19 patients is because of complications and that it is usually among those aged 60 and above, while there were patients aged between 30 and 40 years who also developed stroke.

“The proportion is a little more among males — maybe three males to two females,”

he said.

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Ogun said:

A very easy COVID-19 symptom to remember is the loss of smell, which is pretty common. It only affects one of the nerves coming from the brain that takes care of smell.

The damage can take many forms. It can lead to stroke; it can also lead to the inflammation of the brain, which we call encephalitis.

It can also cause affectation of the spinal cord, called myelitis.

Ogun, who is also a Consultant Physician/Neurologist, said there were many routes by which the virus could get to the brain.

For the smell, it comes from the nose and migrates backward to the brain.

The virus can get through the bloodstream and when it gets to the bloodstream, it goes all over the body.

There is a receptor for the virus in the body, called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and once it gets there, it can migrate to the cell.

Other manifestations include problems with swallowing.

In some cases, some patients don’t see too well and some of them, the eyes will deviate to one side because the muscles of the eye will be weak; so, they have what we call squint and some could have myalgia (pain in the muscles).

Some of the patients have Guillain–Barré syndrome — a condition that occurs because the body wants to get rid of the virus once it gets to the system.

In some patients, they present with convulsion and seizures; they may have some abnormal movement and they may have myoclonic jerks which will make them to jerk abnormally.

In some cases, they may have epilepsy. Some people also complain of some headache and they feel extremely weak.

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