cutaway of blood vessel shows arteriosclerosis
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As clinicians struggle to better understand the new coronavirus, they are finding unusual symptoms in seniors and puzzling blood clotting issues in other patients.  

Doctors are trading accounts of seniors who present without the typical cough, fever and shortness of breath. Instead, these elders may simply appear “off;” sleeping more, losing appetite and becoming confused and apathetic, according to a Thursday CNN report.  Sometimes they are dizzy, stop speaking or simply collapse.

Atypical presentations are not unusual in elderly adults in many conditions, one doctor told the news outlet. “We’re seeing that with Covid-19 as well,” she said. In some cases, apparent signs of trauma or stroke turn out to be COVID-19. In all instances, the risk is that diagnosis is stalled and treatment begins late, clinicians say. 

In a more mysterious development, doctors report seeing blood clotting that isn’t resolved with anticoagulants in COVID-19 patients. Front line care providers at Mount Sinai Hospital, for example, found signs of blood thickening and clotting in different organs by doctors from different specialties, reports Reuters. “This would turn out to be one of the alarming ways the virus ravages the body, as doctors there and elsewhere were starting to realize,” writes investigator Jonathan Allen. Patients at the hospital now receive high doses of blood-thinners before clotting appears, he reports.

In direct contrast, poor clotting in COVID-19 patients with pre-existing conditions can lead to hemorrhage or bleeding disorders, according to a report by Medical News Today. This condition is often found among patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart, respiratory and kidney diseases. In fact, poor blood clotting is thought by some to be among the leading causes of death for these high-risk patients, physicians told the news outlet.