Covid: brain atrophy, risk of stroke… these long-term effects, even after a mild form

The latest studies carried out highlight the potential long-term sequelae after a Covid infection, whether you have had a severe or mild form of the disease. These still need to be refined but still warn: the coronavirus is not without consequences for our health.

Two years later, the Covid still presents many mysteries. While the presidential election and the war in Ukraine have taken precedence over the rest of the news, the coronavirus pandemic has not disappeared. Indeed, this Sunday, April 10, Public Health France reported an increase in hospitalizations, 401 new hospitalizations during the last 24 hours more exactly, or 1,598 new hospitalizations per day on average over the last 7 days. We know that the contaminations persist, but what do we know about the effects of the virus after an infection in the long term?

Increased risk of pathologies after infection

Several recent studies have found that after an infection, the risk of other pathologies increaseseven for those who do not present a risk factor, do not develop a serious form and are not affected by the long Covid, recalls franceinfo.

In April 2021, three researchers from the University of Saint-Louis (United States) carried out a study, published by the journal Nature. This last identified a series of health problems that affected people who had Covid-19 more frequently. The researchers found that infected people, hospitalized or not, had more respiratory problems and also suffered more “disorders of the nervous and neurocognitive system, mental health, metabolism, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, malaise, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and anemia” than people with a similar profile who never tested positive.

Published on August 18, another study by British researchers already showed that in some patients with Covid-19, a atrophy of the gray matter of the brain is observed. And the results of this study are the same in people hospitalized with severe forms as in people who have shown few symptoms. Results similar to the study conducted in April 2021. This atrophy is usually seen during aging, as highlighted LCI.

Also in October 2021, a study indicated that people who had contracted Covid would have memory and concentration problems months after their infection.

More common heart problems

A study on cardiovascular risks has brought to light a higher risk of stroke in people who test positive for coronavirus (more than 150,000 have been observed). This risk is indeed multiplied by 1.52 in the year following the infection, the risk of pulmonary embolism by 2.93, that of acute coronary syndrome by 1.72.

Patients cured of Covid-19 also have a higher risk of developing kidney-related pathologies, according to a study by the same American team, published in November in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The data point in particular to a risk of end-stage renal disease multiplied by three in former Covid-19 patients (and by 2.15 in those who were not hospitalized), details franceinfo.

Risks of dementia, diabetes…

The authors of an article published by the journal Science in January, note that the damage observed in some patients “raises the possibility that infection may accelerate or trigger the future development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

A latest study of these data, published on March 21 in The Lancetobserve that people cured of Covid-19 are more likely (+40%) to develop type 2 diabetes in the following year.

Finally, a study titled “What triggers severe COVID? Infected immune cells hold clues“, published in the journal Nature this Wednesday, April 6 demonstrates how the coronavirus infects immune cells and causes a massive inflammatory response of the body.

The infectious disease specialist Olivier Robineau, however, tempers with our colleagues from franceinfo: recent studies show “an indisputable increased risk” of certain pathologies for patients with Covid-19, “but on events which remain rare”.

He also points out that other elements, such as tobacco and diet, are risk factors that should not be overlooked.

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