CLEVELAND — Tim Tyus has no idea how he contracted COVID-19, but it put him in the hospital last summer for a week. A day after discharge, when he thought everything was fine, an excruciating strange headache made him call 911.
"A headache don't make your face get tight your lips my face felt like something was pulling my skin back, and I couldn't really hold my head up my face was getting tight my eyes felt like they were going to come out of my head," Tim says.
He was rushed to Cleveland Clinic where doctors discovered a rare type of stroke called a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or CVST, a blood clot in the veins of his brain. He's not alone. Doctors started noticing a disturbing COVID virus effect after patients died.
"On autopsies they found that their lungs were full of blood clots and that's when we gained more understanding that this is causing a clotting disorder," says Cleveland Clinic vascular neurosurgeon, G. Abbas Kharal, MD.
There are studies that indicate the virus literally thickens the blood of nearly a quarter of COVID patients. Even those with mild disease can be at risk, even a month after recovering.
"There are these chemical substances released by our body to fight the COVID-19 infection, but those chemicals actually mess up the pathways and the cascade which controls the level of thinness in our blood," Dr. Kharal said.
The treatment? Blood thinners, but they can't predict who's at risk and who isn't, but some studies are indicating prophylactic blood thinners may be helpful for sicker patients who can be more than 60 percent at risk.
Tim is grateful he can get back to his music. But more importantly remind other African Americans to take this virus seriously.
"I have to give all the credit to God and the doctors for why I'm still here."
You can find out more about blood clots and COVID-19 from Dr. Kharal in the player below:
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