COVID-19 is a new deadly disease that broke out from a new strain of viruses, so it is constantly behaving in new and unpredictable ways. Leading health experts around the world constantly reassure the general public that most people experience only mild symptoms or none at all. They also classified people into risky categories, which inevitably provides comfort if you don't fit into one.
Occasionally, however, COVID-19 reasserts itself, letting the world know that it will not be predictable.
This happened again this week, with doctors reporting that the virus appears to be causing sudden strokes in adults aged 30 to 40, who are not terribly ill.
There is emerging evidence that COVID-19 causes blood clots.
Between 20 and 40% of COVID-19 patients at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, have developed blood clots, for example.
READ MORE: Shocking new coronavirus symptom can cause blood clots
He continued: "Our report shows a seven-fold increase in the incidence of sudden stroke in young patients in the past two weeks. Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with mild symptoms (or in two cases, without symptoms) from Covid.
"Everyone was positive. Two of them delayed the ambulance call."
Although the complication is not at all surprising, the age of patients with COVID-19 raises several questions.
"For comparison, our service, in the last 12 months, treated, on average, 0.73 patients every two weeks under 50 years of age, with leakage of large vessels," wrote the team in a letter to be published in New England Journal of Medicine.
At least one patient died and others are in rehabilitation facilities, intensive care or the stroke unit.
Only one has gone home, but it will require intense care, said Oxley.
In light of the findings, Oxley and his team are asking people to call emergency services if they notice any symptoms associated with the stroke.
"Until now, people were advised to call only an ambulance with shortness of breath or a high fever," he wrote.
What are the symptoms of a stroke?
The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person, but they usually start suddenly.
"Because different parts of your brain control different parts of your body, your symptoms depend on the part affected and the extent of the damage," explains the NHS.
The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:
- Face – the face may have fallen on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or the mouth or eyes may have fallen.
- Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
- Speech – your speech may be distorted or distorted, or the person may not be able to speak, despite appearing to be awake; they may also have trouble understanding what you are saying to them.
- Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Complete paralysis of one side of the body
- Sudden loss or blurred vision
- Difficulty understanding what others are saying
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- A sudden and very intense headache, resulting in blinding pain, unlike any previous experience
- Loss of consciousness.