High blood pressure, a common disease that affects about 45% of Americans, is sometimes called the “silent killer” because it can lead to premature death, even without symptoms. But a new study shows that people with high blood pressure can be more likely to be hospitalized and get seriously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
High blood pressure is a blood pressure in excess of 120/80. In fact, the most common underlying condition in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is high blood pressure or hypertension, according to studies in the journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet and the Centers for Disease Control.
Although hypertension is quite common among Americans, in some studies, the vast majority of patients with COVID-19 had hypertension. In one study, 63% of patients with COVID-19 in ICU had initial hypertension.
Researchers are not sure why so many hospitalized patients and ICUs with COVID-19 have hypertension. However, when we learn more about this new disease, some experts suspect that minor organ damage caused by high blood pressure may give these patients an inherent flaw in their fight against the virus.
Hypertension can have harmful effects on many organs, including the heart, blood vessels, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Medical experts learn more about the novel coronavirus found that this respiratory disease can also affect many organs, especially the heart and blood vessels – bad news for people with hypertension.
“Although pneumonia is the most common complication of the virus, it can also damage the cardiovascular system. That’s why people with high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart failure are at risk … and [may be] he’s less likely to survive the COVID storm, ”said Craig Smith, MD, interventional cardiologist and medical director of the intensive care unit at the UMASS Memorial Medical Center.
Is everyone with high blood pressure at risk?
Not all hypertension is the same. Doctors distinguish between “controlled” and “uncontrolled” hypertension. A person with “controlled” hypertension has reached health• blood pressure using drugs or other means, while in a person with “uncontrolled” hypertension, blood pressure still exceeds the permissible level.
To date, studies have not distinguished between controlled and uncontrolled hypertension.
But Dr. Smith said: “Uncontrolled hypertension is most likely associated with long-term damage to the heart and kidneys, which increases the likelihood that you will be more sick if you have a COVID positive.”
However, people with controlled hypertension should not consider themselves outside the forest.
What should people with high blood pressure do to stay safe?
During this time, it is important to continue to undergo regular examinations. Fear of getting infected when leaving your home and closing many offices can make it difficult to get such help. Telemedicine can be a good alternative if you cannot see your doctor in person.
Although public health measures, such as hand washing, wearing a mask, and social distance, are important for everyone, people with hypertension should be especially careful: for them, COVID-19 infection can be more dangerous.
“In addition to taking safe measures to prevent exposure to the virus, the biggest problem will be focusing on hypertension itself,” said Dr. Smith. “By all accounts, the most important thing is to make sure that you continue to take medications that control your blood pressure … other medical conditions are not suspended just because COVID is here!” he added.
As a nation gets tired of pandemic isolation and states begin to open slowly, people with high blood pressure have an additional reason to stay indoors a little longer.
Nancy A. Anoruo, MD, MD, is an internal medicine physician, public health scientist, and a member of ABC News.
High blood pressure can make coronavirus more dangerous originally appeared on abcnews.go.com