Memory Problems After COVID-19 May Set The Stage For Alzheimer’s

When thinking about the impact of a COVID-19 infection, many consider the damage to the respiratory system. Because of what we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, and what we understand about the way the Coronavirus attacks the pulmonary network, it makes sense that this would come to mind. However, a recent study has emerged analyzing COVID-19’s effect on the brain, as well.

The results of this research have yielded a potential new, concerning link between COVID-19 and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory loss from COVID-19
Among those whose symptoms linger for months – known as COVID-19 long-haulers –memory loss symptoms in COVID-19 patients are common. Most often, these neurological issues present themselves as brain fog, trouble remembering things and general fatigue. The study believes that these conditions could worsen with time.

One symptom that may be associated with memory problems? The loss of smell. Scientists at UT Health San Antonio believe it could stem from the olfactory bulb, an area of the brain that’s connected to the areas that affect memory, thinking and planning. As they continue their Alzheimer’s research, they’ll be looking to answer the question, “Can COVID-19 put you at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease?”

Recovering after a COVID-19 infection
For those who experience Alzheimer symptoms, such as dizziness, forgetfulness or even migraines following a COVID-19 infection, a medical assessment may help you know your options for rehabilitation. In a significant number of cases, the symptoms appear similar to conditions associated with early Alzheimer’s and are often seen among patients in their 60s and 70s. Currently, these symptoms seem to go on for several months – with some patients being affected much longer. 

There’s also concern that, like Alzheimer’s, the symptoms may progress with time. Ongoing studies will continue to analyze specific cases and data to better understand what this may mean for those recovering from COVID-19.

What to do if you experience memory loss
To some extent, most people experience forgetfulness at one point or another, especially as we age. That said, if you or a loved one experiences persistent memory problems, especially following a COVID-19 infection, you may be wondering what to do about memory loss. We recommend a medical evaluation to assess the level of memory impairment and associated concerns. In some cases, memory issues are the result of conditions that can even be treated.

Following your evaluation and diagnosis, your doctor can assist you with determining next steps. And remember: Although it can be difficult to cope with the effects of memory loss, early detection and support are crucial to helping you manage your symptoms and receive the appropriate treatment.

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