In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts realized that people with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease and hypertension, were particularly susceptible to the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all adults in the United States have hypertension. Of those, only about 25 percent have the condition under control.
This is concerning because hypertension can lead to an increased risk of serious complications from COVID-19, such as heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, people with hypertension are at an increased risk for developing severe illness from Covid-19. In this blog post, we’ll share what we know about Covid-19 and high blood pressure, and offer some tips for staying healthy during the pandemic.
How is blood pressure and overall health connected?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which the force of your blood pushing against artery walls is too high. This increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. Hypertension can also damage the kidneys and contribute to other chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
In addition to hypertension, many other health conditions can put you at a higher risk for developing complications from COVID-19. These include obesity, asthma, lung disease, and diabetes. It’s important to focus on overall health during the pandemic and make sure you’re taking care of any underlying medical issues.
Does high blood pressure increase your risk of getting COVID-19?
High blood pressure on its own does not increase your risk of contracting COVID-19. However, hypertension can lead to other underlying conditions that make you more vulnerable to the virus. In fact, according to a study published in the PLOS ONE journal, researchers found that high blood pressure is one of the most common comorbidities in people with COVID-19.
When comparing people with a systolic blood pressure reading of 150 to 159 mmHg with those who had a systolic blood pressure reading of 120 to 129 mmHg, the researchers found that people with a higher systolic blood pressure were 91% more likely to suffer from severe COVID-19. No evidence was found to indicate that a higher risk of severe COVID-19 was associated with a higher reading of 150 mmHg or more. Other key findings include:
- Low blood pressure, which could indicate an underlying disease, was associated with a 40% higher risk of severe COVID-19 when compared to standard blood pressure readings.
- Those with a history of stroke had a 47% higher chance of severe COVID-19.
- Those with a history of cardiovascular comorbidities had a 30% higher risk of severe COVID-19.
Can high blood pressure lead to more severe symptoms of COVID-19?
Yes. High blood pressure can make it more difficult for your body to fight off infection, and can lead to an increased risk of severe symptoms of Covid-19. This is why hypertension is one of the most common comorbidities in people with COVID-19. Additionally, high blood pressure increases your risk of serious complications from Covid-19, such as heart attacks and strokes.
How to determine healthy blood pressure levels
Your doctor will be able to provide you with specific guidance on what your healthy blood pressure levels should be. Generally, a reading of 120/80 mmHg or lower is considered ideal and indicates that your heart is functioning normally. If your blood pressure is higher than this, it’s important to talk to your doctor about managing hypertension and reducing your risk of complications from COVID-19 and other health risks.
Can you have high blood pressure without knowing it?
Yes. High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it often has no noticeable symptoms. This means that it can go undetected for weeks, months, and even years without medical intervention. To make sure you’re not unaware of hypertension, be sure to get your blood pressure checked regularly by a healthcare provider.
How can hypertension be managed during the Covid-19 pandemic?
When faced with a stressful event such as a pandemic, it can be difficult to stay committed to healthy habits. However, it is important that you make sure to maintain the lifestyle behaviors that help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. Here are some tips to manage and reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
- Get vaccinated. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is important for hypertension management as it can help reduce your risk of contracting the virus and experiencing severe symptoms.
- Eat healthy. Follow a healthy diet that’s low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars. Make sure to consume a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal, as well as limit your salt intake. Try the DASH eating plan, which lowers blood pressure and helps you stay on track.
- Watch your weight. Overweight can affect your health, so make sure you know what your BMI is and whether it’s within a healthy or unhealthy range. Make sure you don’t snack too much when you stay at home more than usual.
- Get active. Although social distancing may change your workouts, you still need at least two hours of physical activity a week. The best exercise is anything you can commit to regularly, whether it’s a brisk walk, a morning jog, or even a quick yoga session. You can also practice stress management techniques such as deep breathing and meditation to help reduce stress levels.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure, so men should limit consumption to two drinks a day, and women should limit consumption to one.
- Quit smoking. You can lower your blood pressure by quitting smoking. Avoid smoking if you haven’t already.
- Take any medication prescribed to you by your doctor. NSAIDs, which are common painkillers, can raise your blood pressure. People with heart problems should limit or avoid NSAIDS, especially if they have high blood pressure. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking any medications.
- Reduce stress. Don’t forget to unplug, unwind and relax
By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking the necessary steps to control hypertension, you can help lower your risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
It’s important to remember that hypertension is a common comorbidity in people with COVID-19 and can lead
Manage your blood pressure
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is always important, but it’s especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. High blood pressure is a risk factor for severe illness from the virus, so it’s essential to do everything you can to keep your blood pressure under control.
Nao Medical can help. Visit one of our urgent care locations today and our team of experts will work with you to develop a personalized care plan that fits your needs and lifestyle. We’ll also provide support and guidance every step of the way, so you can be confident that you’re doing everything possible to reduce your risk of developing complications from the virus and stay safe and healthy for years to come.