A lot of my friends and readers have been asking me about the coronavirus and strokes. A few folks have sent me articles from newspapers and online blogs featuring harrowing stories related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and strokes. One article I read was about a 45 year old man who tested positive for COVID-19. He didn’t have severe symptoms, fought the virus at home and recovered. A week after he recovered, he experienced stroke symptoms. He was taken to the ambulance and the doctors confirmed that he had a cerebral stroke.
In general, the news often focusses on provocative outlier cases that are great for clicks, but unfortunate for the true COVID-19 narrative. People read a provocative headline, often without reading the whole article, and share it. That said, doctors have mentioned the risk of strokes in COVID-19 patients and they have written about it in peer-reviewed journals. From what I’ve gathered, the strokes seem to happen in younger patients vs the typical population for strokes, older people. But what is the prevalence of strokes in coronavirus patients? Is it low or should we all be worried? How does it actually happen? Can we prevent it and what are the most optimal ways to treat it?
Lucky for me, I had the great pleasure of chatting with Dr. Ricardo Jose about this topic. He is a Respiratory Consulting Physician at the Royal Brompton and HareField NHS Hospital in London who has a special interest in how inflammation caused by lung infections relates to coagulation ( or clotting). He has over 90 publications in the area of lung infections and how they affect us systemically. He has published several papers on COVID-19, one of the most recent ones being in the Lancet: COVID-19 cytokine storm: the interplay between inflammation and coagulation.
The beauty of this podcast is that you don’t have to be a doctor or have a scientific background to listen and understand it. In easy-to-understand terms, he will explain what “cytokine storms” are, how the coronavirus ( COVID-19) causes them, and how they relate to coagulation and clot formation. He will also discuss the current treatment protocols for COVID-19 related strokes, and he provides ideas on future approaches. Pay attention to the future approaches he discusses, because we are still learning so much about the coronavirus, and some of his ideas may become important treatments in the future.
I have to admit, reading about the coronavirus and strokes is fearful. I think strokes are rare, but the randomness and unpredictability of them, especially in young people in their thirties and forties, is frightening. The amount of lung damage and inflammation that the cytokine storms can cause is also concerning. As far as I know, I haven’t had it, meaning I haven’t experienced symptoms. That said, I haven’t been tested for the virus or the antibodies. Most younger people who contract it WILL experience milder symptoms, though some people have longer and more severe infections. I live in a small apartment building in New York City, and I can say that my next door neighbor had it and had symptoms for 45 days! In terms of symptom duration, that’s long. I heard him coughing every night: a high-pitched, dry cough that not only kept him awake, but kept me and my dog awake too. Luckily, he experienced a full recovery…and somehow I managed to escape it, though we share ventilation in a tight space.
Anyhow, back to the podcast! Take a listen to my conversation with Dr. Ricardo Jose. It’s interesting, it’s extremely helpful and he’s a true expert on the subject. I’ve been trying to bring on experts and researchers on topics related to COVID-19, and recording podcasts that are easy for everyone to understand. This entails breaking down complex, scientific content into easy-to-digest and easy-to-understand portions. I’m doing this, because of the sheer amount of misinformation on the web. Every time I go on Facebook or Instagram, I cringe at the plethora of bad and false information regarding the pandemic. Man, it’s messy. And I fully admit that public health officials have been inconsistent in their messaging, and perhaps politically biased, thereby adding to the messiness. I did a separate Causes or Cures podcast on how inconsistent public health messaging is driving mistrust and chaos, and hope you guys listen to it. How health risks and public health advice is communicated is a topic I’m passionate about. I also did a podcast on the evidence for and against wearing face masks, I did one on Ozone Therapy and the Coronavirus ( which I do not endorse, but did as an intellectual curiosity, because I’m an Ozone illiterate) and have two more guests confirmed who will talk about COVID-19 and its link to blood type and whether or not we should reopen schools, a hot and contentious topic! Lots of interesting episodes coming, and I invite you guys to subscribe.
In closing, here is the link to the Causes or Cures podcast about the Coronavirus and Strokes. Other “non-coronavirus” interviews you can check out: What popular commercial CBD products “really” contain and the health benefits of intermittent fasting with Johns Hopkins guru, Dr. Mark Mattson.
Thanks for reading and listening. Don’t forget to check out my comedic parody on the sleazy side of the wellness industry: Yours in Wellness, Krystal Heeling. I appreciate all of your reviews and read them all!
Take care of yourselves and stay healthy!