About 103 million people in the United States are suffering from high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.
As per recent findings, high blood pressure may increase the risks of the COVID-19 in seniors. Moreover, it could raise severe complications in individuals who get the virus.
Medical experts say that everyone should follow the precautionary measures to protect themselves from the COVID-19. But, patients with hypertension need to be extra careful.
So, what’s the link between the coronavirus & high blood pressure? How to reduce the risks? Read on to learn more.
Hypertension or high blood pressure occurs when the pressure of the blood pushing against the artery walls is too high. This could make it difficult for the heart to pump the blood, thus leading to severe health issues, which may be life-threatening.
Medical doctors measure blood pressure in mm Hg. The normal range of BP is below 120/80 mm Hg. Anything above will be counted as high blood pressure.
There are many factors that affect hypertension. These include—age, genetics, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, heavy drinking, stress, diet, and sleep problems.
The data from China & Italy shows the risks of the COVID-19 associated with patients with high blood pressure.
In China, about 25-50 percent of the patients with the coronavirus had hypertension, diabetes, cancer, or other health issues. But, in Italy, more than 75 percent of the COVID-19 fatalities were high blood pressure patients
However, there could be various reasons for the development of high blood pressure. One is a weaker immune system. It’s a complex network of cells & proteins that protects the body from infections and bacteria. Many factors weaken the immune system. These include heavy drinking, smoking, poor nutrition, aging, and experiencing health issues for a long time.
In the coronavirus patients, pneumonia is one of the major complications. It can also cause harm to the body’s cardiovascular system. In other words, we can say that patients with heart diseases, such as hypertension, heart failure, etc. are at high risks.
Since both hypertension & the COVID-19 damage the heart, it could increase the health risks.
Many think that hypertension medications can cause the coronavirus. But, it’s not true.
According to recent research, there’s no link between blood pressure medications and increased risks for patients with COVID-19. Researchers studied the use of 4 drug classes—angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), ibeta blockers, and calcium channel blockers.
Additionally, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association say that patients should not stop taking angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) medications for high blood pressure, heart failure or heart disease. These medications help in maintaining BP levels and reduce the risks of various heart conditions.
According to the CDC, high blood pressure patients should work on managing their blood pressure levels & taking medications regularly. They recommend having at least a two-week supply of heart disease medications.
Here are some quick tips for hypertension patients to reduce the risks of the COVID-19-
Exercising provides lots of health benefits, of which one is controlling hypertension.
Regular exercise can help increase the heart rate. And, over time, this can make the heart stronger and pump the blood adequately.
So, how much physical activity do you require in a day? The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity for 40 minutes a day for 3-4 times a week.
Since gyms are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can do home workouts. There are many exercises you can perform without fitness equipment and boost your health.
There’s scientific evidence that cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates can help you control your blood pressure levels. Additionally, it’s effective in losing weight, thus managing health issues related to it. These include stress, type 2 diabetes, sleep problems, etc.
Moreover, reducing salt intake and increasing potassium intake can help in lowering blood pressure. So, eat more fruits & vegetables, whole grains, beans, and low-fat dairy products such as milk & yogurt.
There’s no vaccine or medication for the coronavirus. The only way to protect yourself is to practice social distancing. Since hypertension patients are at high risks of the COVID-19, they should stay at home. Avoid shaking hands and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
Moreover, you should avoid visiting crowded places, social gatherings, and limit errands
Maintaining good hygiene can help you prevent the COVID-19 along with providing many other health benefits. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. However, you can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
The coronavirus can survive on different surfaces, such as clothes, metal, and cardboard. For example, It can live up to 4 hours on copper. So, you should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly to stay safe.
Common pain medications—NSAIDs and decongestants can increase the risks of hypertension. If you are having heart problems, you should avoid taking such medications. However, drugs such as acetaminophen are less likely to increase blood pressure.
It’s important to talk to a licensed doctor to seek professional advice about OTC medicines.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, going out is full of risks. However, you can use telemedicine services to talk to a licensed doctor online. This will help you get professional advice for managing high blood pressure while practicing social distancing.
Here’s the complete process for seeing a doctor through telemedicine-
Patients with certain conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, etc. are more likely to experience the COVID-19. It has been confirmed by the data from China & Italy—the two countries that were hit by the virus early.
So, hypertension patients and seniors should practice social distancing & strictly follow other precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. However, there’s no link between hypertension medications and the coronavirus. According to the latest guidelines by the American Heart Association, patients can take these medications for managing their blood pressure levels.
Moreover, it’s important to follow healthy habits such as exercising indoors, eating healthy foods, managing stress levels, and boosting sleep. This will help you control high blood pressure levels, and stay protected from the COVID-19.
See our licensed doctors online to seek professional advice for high blood pressure.