Wash your hands frequently. Wear a mask. Stay six feet apart. All people know the basic steps to stop the spread of COVID-19, but when you have high blood pressure, you need to take additional steps to stay healthy. Here we tell you about the tie between COVID-19 and hypertension along with a few helpful tips.
The Link Between COVID-19 And High Blood Pressure
Based on a review of data, American College of Cardiology provided its comments in June 2020. As the research is ongoing, future studies may provide more findings. Here are the key points:
Early reports from Wuhan, China, and Italy showed increased morbidity and mortality among people with hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, chronic kidney diseases, and obesity.
A large study from the US followed 5,700 hospitalized patients and also showed similar findings. However, the exact link between high blood pressure and severe COVID is unclear because hypertension is more common in elders, who are more likely to have diabetes, obesity, and kidney diseases. Each of these problems increases the risk of severe COVID.
SARS-COV-2 And Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RASS)
The SARS-COV-2 virus enters human cells via the ACE2 receptor, which acts on RASS. RASS plays a key role in blood pressure regulation.
There are some concerns and debates around ACEIs and ARBs. These two classes of drugs are for treating hypertension. They upregulate ACE 2 expression, which can facilitate SARS-COV-2 infection and cause more severe cases. Some doctors no longer use these drugs. Research studies on animals showed mixed results. “Currently, there is no compelling evidence that withdrawal of ACE-Is or ARBs prevents infection or impacts clinical outcomes,” says the American College of Cardiology. Also, interrupting regular treatment plans with ACEIs or ARBs can lead to heart problems.
COVID-19 High Blood Pressure And Co-morbidities
High blood pressure often occurs alongside diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and excess weight. This cluster is also known as metabolic syndrome. Each of them increases the risk of more severe forms of COVID-19.
Diabetes doesn’t seem to increase the risk of getting COVID-19, but it does increase the risk of more severe forms. That’s because a high level of sugar impairs the immune system and its ability to fight.
Obesity. According to the CDC, obesity worsens outcomes from COVID-19. Even being overweight may increase this risk. Obesity triples the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization. The higher the BMI, the higher the risk of dying from COVID-19. That’s because obesity creates an inflammatory response in the body, weakens the immune system, and reduces lung capacity.
Other vaccines like the flu and hep B don’t work as well in obese adults. This may also be true for COVID.
Beyond The Spread Of SARS-COV-2 Virus
COVID-19 caused another two major issues. First, there is a large increase in mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Stress has a negative impact on blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and overall health.
Secondly, there is a pandemic weight gain. Excess weight increases the risk of more severe COVID-19.
Tips To Consider
Manage your general health. The healthier you are, the lower is the risk to develop severe infections including severe COVID. If you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol levels, make sure they are under control. Take prescription drugs as told. A healthy lifestyle is vital to keep these health measures in check.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you have excess pounds, follow a diet and fitness plan.
A healthy diet, along with regular exercise, stress control, and a good night’s sleep will help you manage high blood pressure and other problems.
Correct lack of vitamin D. There is an increasing amount of evidence about the benefits of vitamin D. One study found a vitamin D deficiency in 80% of COVID -19 cases. Those with both COVID-19 and low vit D levels had increased markers of inflammation and poor prognosis. Individuals who have healthy levels of vit D seem to have a 50% lower risk of dying from COVID and a lower risk for complications. Correcting vitamin D deficiency is also vital to manage hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, and excess weight. The normal dose of vit D is 1000-2000 IU. The daily dose of vit D should be based on vit D tests.
Have a thermometer and a pulse meter at home to check your body’s temperature and oxygen saturation. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, make sure you call your doctor. You can treat mild symptoms at home. Shortness of breath, confusion, bluish lips or face, and rapid changes in oxygen level requires urgent medical help.