By Stephanie Stahl

MULLICA HILL, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey doctor is recovering from COVID-19 and a newly-discovered serious side effect that’s potentially deadly. Doctors say the coronavirus is triggering a growing number of strokes in younger patients and it’s causing alarm among experts.

The South Jersey doctor who became a patient says he thought he had recovered with no problem but that’s not what happened.

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“I feel lucky, thankful and blessed,” Dr. Troy Randle, of Virtua Cardiology, said.

Randle is recovering from a stroke likely related to being infected with COVID-19.

“For about five days I would have fevers and body aches. The headaches were the first two days,” he said.

The 49-year-old doctor, who lives in Mullica Hill, self-isolated, got better and returned to work. But then the headaches came back.

“I was thinking, you know, ‘Am I having a relapse? Is this a reinfection,’ because I was back to work,” Randle said.

But he says it didn’t feel like his first bout with COVID-19. The second round of headaches was so intense that his wife took him to the emergency department where brain scans detected a stroke.

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“No way that we know for sure 100%, but in all likelihood, that’s probably the cause. I don’t have any other medical conditions,” Randle said.

Strokes have been linked to a growing number of young COVID-19 patients. There are indications the virus causes blood abnormalities related to clotting problems.

“There’s a period of time where the blood gets thicker and you have a higher tendency to form blood clots during this inflammatory process,” Randle said.

Dr. Randle says the stroke caused some minor brain damage. Fortunately, he has minimal symptoms.

It’s unclear why the virus is causing blood clots in some patients.

Randle warns others to get checked if they have severe, unusual symptoms. For him, it was the intense headaches.

“If you have anything that you generally don’t experience, I would say, you have to be mindful with that,” he said.

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It’s not just strokes as preliminary research is showing COVID-19 can cause blood clots in other parts of the body.

Stephanie Stahl