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Covid-19 causes sudden strokes in smokers, diabetics, hypertensives

According to studies from the Netherlands and France, it is indicative that clots appear in 20 to 30 per cent of critically ill COVID-19 patients

Saturday May 9, 2020 5:12 PM, Sumit Saxena, IANS

Who is more at risk of coronavirus

New Delhi: The novel Coronavirus that has been mutating rapidly appears to cause sudden strokes in people, who are heavy smokers, diabetic and suffering from hypertension, doctors suggested on Saturday.

They said there is growing evidence to suggest that Covid-19 infection can cause the blood to clot in unusual ways, and as a consequence stroke could be an outcome.

Nishith Chandra, Director Interventional Cardiology at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, said lots of younger people, who had symptoms of Covid-19 infection, are succumbing to strokes in the US and the UK.

"Due to Covid-19 blood clotting increases in many parts of the body including heart, lungs, liver, brain, kidney and lower limbs", said Chandra.

"Whatever pattern we got from Italy, the clinical profile is nearly the same. Trends show thrombosis in Indian patients. There is a possibility that stroke is likely to emerge in Indian disease pattern", he said.

The doctor insisted smokers and diabetic persons are more vulnerable to strokes, and it is important to exercise strict blood sugar control. "H1N1had no thrombosis, but Covid-19 has", he added.

According to studies from the Netherlands and France, it is indicative that clots appear in 20 to 30 per cent of critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Sujeet Jha, Principal Director at Endocrinology Diabetes Max Health Care, said that clinicians should investigate all unusual strokes or even heart attacks with possible link of Covid- 19 infection. Blood tends to be thicker with severe infection which results in small or larger clots which may cause sudden blockages of blood supply to part of the brain and they can lead to weakness or paralysis of the body.

"Covid-19 infection presenting with cerebrovascular accident (stroke) up to 5 to 6 per cent, from different studies. It's seen more commonly who has severe infection and associated comorbid conditions which are similar to lung syndromes like advancing age Diabetes Hypertension Coronary artery disease ,though certain young persons have also presented for the first time with stroke based on US Studies", Jha added.

He insisted that diabetes is well known to increase risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 2-3 times, and most early deaths in diabetes are due to CVD.

Reportedly, researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, reported Covid-19 patients on mechanical ventilation, who received blood thinners, had a lower mortality than those who weren't treated with them.

Manisha Chakrabarti, senior consultant in congenital and paediatric heart diseases at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said heavy smokers, diabetics, people having hypertension and pre-existing cardiac condition are vulnerable to strokes due to Covid-19.

"Thromboembolic events are linked to Covid-19. In the US, in children inflammation of coronary arteries was seen, and there is a possibility of clot formation in arteries...coronavirus is causing damage to organs", added Chakrabarti.

(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at sumit.s@ians.in)

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