High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) and Covid-19: Should I be Worried?
Patients with Hypertension are at Higher Risk for Severe Covid-19
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has previously published a list of high-risk groups for severe Covid-19 which states that “people with heart disease such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and hypertension will be at higher risk get severely ill from COVID-19
In light of the impact of hypertension on the symptoms of Covid-19, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has published a series of recommendations for people with hypertensive disorders to promote health and reduce the risk of complications during the Covid-19 pandemic, including “reducing alcohol intake,” “quitting smoking,” “losing weight,” “exercising” and “reducing salt intake.
Reducing Alcohol Intake and Quitting Smoking can Promote Cardiovascular Health
First of all, British Heart Association data shows that “alcohol may cause irregular heart rhythm, high blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle, as well as stroke and liver problems. At the same time, alcohol is also rich in calories, which may lead to weight gain. Whether alcohol directly causes hypertension or indirectly increases the risk of hypertension due to weight gain, alcohol has a negative impact on heart health.
Therefore, the association recommends that both men and women should drink less than 14 units of alcohol per week (one unit can be 25ml of 40% alcohol or more spirits; 50ml of 20% alcohol liqueur or sherry; or about 300ml of 4% alcohol beer or fruit wine, etc.), and should set a few “alcohol-free days” per week.
Secondly, because smoking makes the arterial walls sticky due to the chemicals contained in cigarettes, it may lead to arterial blockage and may cause heart attacks and strokes, etc. Therefore, for addicts, “quitting smoking” is also the key to protecting cardiovascular health.
Exercise More and Eat Less Salt to Control Blood Pressure
In addition, the British Heart Association data show that “regardless of whether you have other health problems, overweight (overweight) will increase the risk of contracting Covid-19; after contracting Covid-19, there will be a higher risk of death.
“Obesity (obese) is also a risk factor for many health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, and all of these health problems increase the chance of dying from Covid-19. Therefore, regardless of cardiovascular disease, effective weight control plays an important role in protecting one’s health during Covid-19, especially for patients with hypertension.
For those who want to effectively control their weight and reduce the risk of contracting and becoming seriously ill with Covid-19, “exercise” is one of the ways to do so. The British Heart Association has also shown that “physical exercise will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also help control weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and even improve mental health.
Lastly, “reducing salt intake” is also key to controlling blood pressure. After all, “excessive salt intake will increase blood pressure, and high blood pressure will increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Therefore, adults should limit their daily salt intake to less than 6g to avoid a “heavy salty” diet as an accomplice to health damage.
How Covid-19 Impact U.S. Adults’ Blood Pressure Levels
On December 6, 2021, AHA published a research letter in their journal, revealing a rise in blood pressure observed among US Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This study took a closer look at how recent events might have caused slight upticks in the blood pressures of participants in a variety of employee wellness programs across the country.
In this study, participants needed to take their blood pressure by healthcare professional for each year of the study (2018-2020). Researchers also included 2018 numbers for a better comparison of pre-pandemic blood pressure levels to pandemic ones. Of the 464,585 participants, about 54% were women and the average age was 46.
The study showed no significant differences in blood pressure between 2019 and January to March of 2020. However, from April to December of 2020, blood pressure numbers notably increased as compared to that same period in 2019. Changes ranged from 1.10 to 2.50 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) for systolic blood pressure and 0.14 to 0.53 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure.
Active Self-management through the “3Cs” and Telemedicine Technology
In addition to the multi-pronged approach of “reducing alcohol intake”, “quitting smoking”, “losing weight”, “exercising” and “reducing salt intake” to promote health in daily life through diet and exercise, the British Heart Association also reminds cardiovascular disease patients to take their medication on time and monitor their blood pressure at home through blood pressure monitors to actively monitor and manage their blood pressure. AHA also calls on people to continue to protect their health during Covid-19 through the “3C self-management” of “Check”, “Change”, and “Control”.
It is worth mentioning that, in addition to the 3C self-management, patients with hypertension can also seek telemedicine help if they need immediate medical resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In fact, the study by Martino F. Pengo et al. states: “The recent Covid-19 pandemic has made the use of telemedicine, avoiding physical meetings between patients and medical personnel, a key issue. The post-acute phase of Covid-19 has accelerated the expansion of telemedicine services to a wider range of health care services, particularly in the area of hypertension…”.
What is telemedicine technology?
Actually, MOCAArm can be a tool for realizing telemedicine technology. With the “contact” function, you can transfer your blood pressure measurement to your doctor in jpg or pdf form. The visualized chart allows you to have a clear glance at your measurement.
Hypertension is a health crisis that affects nearly 116 million in the United States. In addition to paying close attention to blood pressure, patients need to continue to improve their blood pressure through diet and exercise during the pandemic and seek professional medical advice in a timely manner to keep themselves safe from the threat of coronavirus and to lay the foundation for long-term health.