Is the coronavirus leading to strokes in young people? Doctors weigh in

Grant Boone
April 26, 2020

Doctors in the USA are warning of another risk associated with COVID-19: the possibility that the virus can cause sudden strokes in patients under the age of 50, even those who only seem to have a mild case of the highly infectious illness.

The findings were published April 22 in the journal JAMA.

There is mounting evidence that coronavirus infection can cause blood to form clots in odd ways. Blood clot formation increases the risk of a stroke, as well as the increased pressure in the blood vessels.

"For comparison, our service, over the previous 12 months, has treated on average 0.73 patients every 2 weeks under the age of 50 years with large vessel stroke", Oxley and his co-authors wrote in their coming report, according to CNN.

The blockage of arteries in the brain caused by coronavirus clots could be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Oxley told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) that strokes have been observed in older COVID-19 patients, but this new trend was concerning because it involved younger patients in their 30s and 40s with mild symptoms.

"Our report shows a seven-fold increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks".

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Researchers had concerns that COVID-19 could be sexually transmitted like Zika, Ebola, and other viral diseases.

Coronavirus can cause blood clots and sudden strokes in young, healthy patients, doctors have warned. "Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid", Oakley continued.

Meanwhile, another team of doctors has reported seeing a spike in coronavirus patients with blood clotting problems.

When a blood clot blocks an artery in the brain, it will reduce the oxygenation of a brain area and this could have various effects on the body.

The youngest was 31, "which is insane", Mocco said, adding that the such strokes among young people are "very, very atypical". "All tested positive. Two of them delayed calling an ambulance".

Of those treated by his medics, Dr Oxley said one has died, one has gone home but will need intensive care while the others are in either rehabilitation units, the stroke unit or ICU. Also, if it happens in the large vessel, it means that the blood clot is big. Oxley says people should familiarize themselves with an easy mnemonic to self-diagnose a stroke and get quick treatment: FAST. F is for face drooping, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulty and T for time to call 911.

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