Don’t Ignore High Blood Pressure During COVID-19
After six months into COVID-19, several studies have revealed people with hypertension are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. In fact, there is mounting evidence that COVID-19 affects the heart, regardless of age and fitness levels of patients. The Center for Disease Control in the US has identified several underlying health conditions that put individuals at higher risk should they contract COVID-19. These include: serious heart diseases, COPD, obesity, cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and people with compromised immune systems¹.
What is concerning for Canadians is that high blood (hypertension) and obesity, affect extremely large segments of the our population. Over 53% of people over the age of 60 have hypertension, and 64% of Canada’s adults are overweight or obese with BMI’s > 25². Early evidence suggests that both these groups have much more difficulty recovering from COVID-19.
Why do people with Hypertension and Obesity get sicker?
While there hasn’t been enough time for scientists to fully understand the Coronavirus mechanism and its implications, early research has identified inflammation as a key contributor to the problem. High blood pressure damages blood vessels and our body’s natural response is inflammation. Inflammation can result in clotting that can lead to more damage in the heart and strokes. Obese patients have more complement proteins which can also trigger blood clots, and more ACE2 receptors on their cells. This is the receptor that COVID-19 uses to infect cells. They also have lower levels of adiponectin hormone which keeps bloods vessels clean and open; the result can be more inflammation, which deepens the seriousness of COVID-19.
How to lower your risk:
If you have high blood and/or you have a BMI >30, recognize that you have higher risk. You should to be vigilant when it comes to the Coronavirus including the trifecta:
1. Maintain Social Distancing
2. Wear a mask
3. Wash your hands frequently
If you are taking anti-hypertension medications, continue your current regime, but do a 7 Day Home Blood Pressure Test to confirm your average BP is under control and you are maintaining your systolic and diastolic targets. This 7 Day Protocol requires 4 measurements per day, two in the morning and two in the evening for seven days consecutively. The result is your “real” average blood pressure. This protocol is recommended by Hypertension Canada.
Finally, you might also consider upgrading your blood pressure monitor to a device with an APP that allows you to share your data with your doctor or cardiologist. This enables your health care provider to review your measurements and make adjustments to your treatment, if necessary.
Author: Mark Beaton, Sr. VP of Marketing BIOS Medical