Since the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, researchers have continued to learn more and more about the highly infectious virus, responsible for the deaths of over 1.62 million people around the world. They have come to understand that while the majority of people experience common symptoms — fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, dry cough included — and recover from the virus, there are others who are plagued with ones that are mysterious and sometimes linger for months on end. Now, according to multiple case reports, some people infected with COVID-19 are experiencing a slew of symptoms that can be most commonly described as “parkinsonism.” Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Patients are Experiencing Parkinson’s-Like Symptoms—But It’s Not Parkinson’s
One of the reports published in The Lancet surrounds a 45-year-old man from Israel who spent a week in the United States. On his return flight he sat near a symptomatic passenger. Within two days he started experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including dry cough, muscle pain, and loss of sense of smell. After testing positive and being hospitalized with fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain, he returned home. However, in the next three week he started experiencing a slew of troubling symptoms: he had trouble speaking, writing, texting, his cognitive performance declined and had tremors in one hand. Doctors later called it “a case of probable Parkinson’s.”
Other similar case reports include a 35-year-old woman in Brazil who contracted the virus and then experienced a bunch of Parkinson’s like symptoms including hypophonia (slowness of speech) and bradykinesia (slowness of movement), a 58-year-old male COVID-19 patient in Madrid who also displayed symptoms associated with the condition, including tremors and eye movement abnormalities.
“The distinction between parkinsonism and Parkinson’s disease is important to make,” Dr. Emily Troyer, a psychiatrist and neuropsychiatry researcher at University of California San Diego, told The Daily Beast.
Taylor explains that parkinsonism and neuropsychiatric complications have been linked to other viral infections, including the common flu to West Nile virus, herpes, and HIV, so it isn’t surprising that they could be associated with COVID-19.
“A number of things can cause parkinsonism, including certain medications, exposures, and several types of illnesses. Parkinson’s disease, on the other hand”—like the kind actor, author and advocate Michael J. Fox has—”refers to a specific illness with a well-defined set of symptoms, disease mechanisms, potential treatments. With that said, I’m not surprised that we are seeing case reports of parkinsonism that are temporally associated with COVID-19.”
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How to Stay Healthy During the Pandemic
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and experience any of these “parkinsonism” type of symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately. And follow the fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.