From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus is known to have a significant and lasting impact on patients’ major organ systems, including the lungs, heart, and kidneys. Now two years into the global health event, research indicates that survivors may also suffer lasting neurologic effects of the infection.
Often described as confusion or lack of mental clarity, the condition is referred to as “COVID brain” or “brain fog.” Though not medical or scientific terms, these phrases aptly describe patients’ hazy, sluggish, and unfocused thinking, difficulty concentrating, and inability to process information after COVID.
Doctors say the feeling isn’t a specific condition, but rather a group of symptoms associated with thinking and memory that may also include headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and speech issues.
Research and medical professionals offer many theories for how and why coronavirus impacts the brain, including oxygen deficiency, systemic inflammation, frontal lobe damage, direct viral entry, and blood clotting, among others. However, brain fog is not a condition exclusive to COVID-19 patients and survivors. Individuals undergoing chemotherapy, patients in intensive care for acute respiratory failure, and those who have experienced shock or medical trauma have also exhibited cognitive impairment during and after recovery from medical treatment.
Research shows that coronavirus infection impacts patients regardless of illness severity. For those who experience a mild case of the virus, the impact is less severe, potentially causing difficulty with sustained attention, or slight cognitive, behavioral, and psychological issues. Others who may have been hospitalized with COVID, or suffered more severe infection, have shown greater and lasting cognitive impairment.
Case studies reveal that COVID-19 patients who experience brain fog after recovery may report one or more symptoms ranging from mild to debilitating. While slight impairments may be inconvenient, more acute cognitive damage can impact individuals’ daily activities and quality of life, including managing personal finances and medications, understanding written material, and communicating with others.
Patients experiencing brain fog following a coronavirus infection should contact their doctor to report any symptoms. Only through testing can medical professionals study and understand COVID-related brain fog and its neurological impact.
If you or someone you know is experiencing brain fog following coronavirus, contact your physician to discuss Axon Medical Technologies’ non-invasive, insurance-covered assessment that can shorten the time to diagnose cognitive issues and provide data to monitor your condition.