By Jamie Leary

DENVER (CBS4) – While younger, healthy people have managed to stay healthy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, physicians are noticing unusual symptoms in the more critical cases.

“One of the more striking patients was somebody in their early 30s who came in with symptoms primarily of heart disease… chest pain, went down my arm, was sweaty never had this before. Turned out it was related to COVID,” said Dr. Sam Mehta, an Interventional Cardiologist With Denver Heart.

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Mehta, who spends his time between Rose and Swedish Medical Centers, says the number of young people presenting with heart issues is nowhere near what his colleagues in New York are seeing, but he warns, it’s important people are aware.

“This has become a very clotting-prone disorder so blood clots in the legs, blood clots in the lungs and even more recently, our colleagues in New York recently reported, very young patients, patients in their 30s and 40s, much younger than the usual stroke age, coming in with massive strokes,” he said.

A series of five cases at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City indicate that the clotting might cause strokes in young patients, according to a new report in the April 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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The youngest, a 33-year-old woman, developed numbness and weakness in her left side in the course of a day, after suffering cough, headache and chills for a week, the report said.

The woman tested positive for COVID-19, and doctors found a blood clot lodged in a cerebral artery.

“Exactly what they’re seeing, they’re seeing the big arteries that go to our brain are totally blocked so on average, patients who present like that are in their mid 70s. So to see that in otherwise healthy people that are in their 30s and 40s is very unusual,” said Mehta.

The cause of the clotting is still unclear.

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“Whether it’s something directly from the virus causing our blood to clot, or our immune response in the lungs treating this causing it to clot, we don’t know,” he said. Mehta added the immediate risk as an individual is low.

“As somebody who still fits in that age group, it doesn’t make me walk around, and be scared that I’m going to have a stroke tomorrow, but to be very aware that if I’m feeling not normal, where I start losing some sense of speech, I need to go to the hospital for that reason.”

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CBS4 reported last month, a concern among physicians, where people were waiting to seek treatment for acute issues. Mehta says, that is still the case and urges people not to ignore growing health problems. As doctors continue to learn ways the virus can attack the body, it’s more important than ever people pay attention to how they’re feeling.

“It’s newness and severity… it’s not normal at the age of 35 to have chest pain at all unless you work out too hard or something. So symptoms of, ‘I’m having pressure in my chest, I can’t walk around as much,’ is a sign that I need to be seen, and I think the error we make is thinking ‘Oh I’m young and I shouldn’t have any problems.’ I think knowing that COVID is around, should make us more apt to actually go in and make sure that we’re okay,” he said.

Jamie Leary

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