The American Heart Association said COVID-19 patients have a greater risk of strokes compared to patients with other infections.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is the number one cause of disability, so health experts see this as very concerning.
The Medical Director at the INTEGRIS James R. Daniel Stroke Center, Dr. Charles Morgan, said since the pandemic began, they've seen a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 patients who had strokes compared to other infections like the cold or flu.
He said COVID-19 increases the risk of stroke by seven times and they still don’t know for sure why. He said there’s evidence is causing an increase of stickiness of the blood cells and inflammation in the blood vessels, leading to a greater risk of blood clots.
Strokes can have long term effects like problems with speaking, reading, or even understanding. Dr. Morgan said they've treated COVID-19 patients with blood thinners and steroids, hoping it would reduce the risk of stroke, but that hasn't worked.
“These are large strokes, not strokes that come from long standing high blood pressure, but these are usually devastating strokes,” Morgan said.
Dr. Morgan said the only way to prevent this is by not getting COVID-19 and that's by following the rules on COVID-19 prevention from the CDC.