By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A first-of-its-kind study looks at what neurological symptoms are most common in COVID-19 long haulers.

The Northwestern Medicine study analyzed 100 long haulers with an average age of 43 who didn’t need to be hospitalized.

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Seventy percent were women and 85% reported experiencing four or more neurological symptoms including brain fog, headache, numbness/tingling, disorder of taste or smell, and muscle pain.

“Forty-two percent said that they had some issues with anxiety and depression before COVID. It is possible that this plays a factor in some long COVID symptoms,” said Dr. Igor Koralnik, chief of Neuro-infectious Diseases & Global Neurology at Northwestern Medicine.

Researchers also found 16% of patients had previous autoimmune diseases which could be another possible reason for long haul symptoms. And women are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases than men.

Dr. Koralnik oversees the neuro COVID-19 clinic. He said research is under way to figure out the best way to manage and treat these lingering, debilitating symptoms.

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“I want them to know that help is on the way. Obviously, there are millions of people who have long COVID symptoms,” he said.

Sara Buursma was a healthy mother of three before she got sick with COVID-19 last March. The 37 year-old has been dealing with many issues for the last year, from shortness of breath to brain fog.

“It’s scary. I don’t know what’s going on with my health. I’ve never had health issues. I was always a very active person,” she said.

Her brain fog and shortness of breath are improving with medication.

“Don’t settle for someone that, you know, might not know what you’re going through or thinks that maybe it’s just in your head. Well, it’s not. Every person in this world deserves the best care and deserves to get their health back,” she said.

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Buursma also said don’t lose hope. She has her sights set on running the Chicago marathon next year.

CBSMiami.com Team