APR 25, 2020 6:43 AM PDT

Young People with COVID-19 Die from Stroke

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Hospitals around the US have reported that people aged between 20 and 50 with no risk factors are dying from strokes after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Although the virus was thought to only affect the respiratory tract early on, this finding comes after other evidence showing that the virus impacts almost every major organ system in the body. 

Strokes are characterized by a sudden interruption to blood supply. They can be brought on by heart problems, clogged arteries from high cholesterol, and substance abuse. While small strokes often resolve on their own within 24 hours, larger ones can leave permanent damage and are in some cases fatal.

Analyses by doctors so far reveal that those with COVID-19 tend to experience the most deadly kind of stroke. Known as large vessel occlusions, they appear as large blood clots in the brain that destroy key areas responsible for movement, speech and decision-making. 

So far, doctors suspect that these strokes are the result of blood problems that produce blood clots in other places in the body too. This comes as clots that form in blood vessels have a habit of moving upwards. For example, a clot that starts in the leg may move into the lungs. There it can cause a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism that stops a person from being able to breathe, a known cause of death among those with COVID-19. Should these clots move further upwards, they may be able to reach the brain where they can cause a stroke. 

Whether the clots are due to a direct attack on blood vessels or an autoimmune problem is currently unknown. Also currently unknown is why so many younger patients experience the deadly stroke alongside the virus, especially given that the median age for the deadly stroke is otherwise 74. 

One theory suggests that as older patients tend to die from lung damage early on in the infection while younger patients survive, younger patients may then be more susceptible to succumbing to clotting factors than their seniors.

To understand exactly how the virus may cause strokes and other neurological issues, Sherry H-Y Chou, a neurologist and critical care doctor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues are currently researching the phenomenon. Together, they will examine health records from thousands of COVID-19 patients treated at 68 medical centers across 17 countries. 

 

Sources: Washington Post, Business Insider 

 

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
MAR 03, 2022
Technology
A Robot That Can Measure Blood Pressure With A Single Touch
MAR 03, 2022
A Robot That Can Measure Blood Pressure With A Single Touch
High blood pressure is a silent condition that shows no signs or symptoms. And yet, according to the CDC, millions of Am ...
APR 10, 2022
Plants & Animals
Turmeric Helps Regenerate Blood Vessels and Tissue
APR 10, 2022
Turmeric Helps Regenerate Blood Vessels and Tissue
Turmeric is a common Indian spice used in a wide variety of dishes, and is derived from the root of a turmeric plant. It ...
MAY 05, 2022
Cardiology
A Sense of Purpose Improves Heart Health and Life Expectancy
MAY 05, 2022
A Sense of Purpose Improves Heart Health and Life Expectancy
A recent study has shown that life purpose and mortality are closely tied.
MAY 21, 2022
Cardiology
Do E-cigarettes Cause Cardiovascular Disease?
MAY 21, 2022
Do E-cigarettes Cause Cardiovascular Disease?
In the late 1960s, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act was introduced by Congress, requiring written warnings to be ...
JUN 10, 2022
Health & Medicine
Are Cardiac Complications More Common After COVID-19 Infection or Vaccination?
JUN 10, 2022
Are Cardiac Complications More Common After COVID-19 Infection or Vaccination?
Myocarditis was a well-known reported side effect of COVID-19 vaccines, but heart issues were also a reported symptom of ...
JUL 13, 2022
Cardiology
Eating Eggs May Lower Heart Disease Risk
JUL 13, 2022
Eating Eggs May Lower Heart Disease Risk
Eating up to one egg per day may lower heart disease risk.
Loading Comments...