COVID may trigger dangerous high blood pressure, warns “alarming” new research.
People with COVID-19 and no history of high blood pressure were also much more likely to develop persistent high blood pressure compared to people with the flu virus.
People with COVID-19 who are over age 40, men, black adults or those with pre-existing conditions – such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary artery disease or chronic kidney disease, all had an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure, according to the findings published in the journal Hypertension.
Senior author Professor Tim Duong, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York City, explained that the study was the first to investigate the development and risk factors associated with persistent high blood pressure in people infected with COVID-19 compared to influenza, a similar respiratory virus.
Duong said: “While COVID-19 is typically more severe in patients with pre-existing high blood pressure, including higher rates of hospitalization and mortality compared to people with normal blood pressure, it is unknown whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus may trigger the development of high blood pressure or worsen pre-existing hypertension.”
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is classified as having top and bottom numbers greater than or equal to 130/80 mm Hg.
Health data was analyzed from electronic medical records at the Montefiore Health System in Bronx, New York, which serves a large, racially and ethnically diverse population.
The study included 45,398 people with COVID-19 – hospitalized between March 2020 and February 2022 – and 13,864 people with flu but not Covid – hospitalized between January 2018 and February last year- who returned to the hospital system for any medical reasons.
Researchers found that 21 percent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 11 percent of those who were not hospitalized for COVID-19 developed high blood pressure, compared to 16 percent of people hospitalized with flu and four percent of those not hospitalized for flu.
People hospitalized for COVID-19 were more than twice as likely and those not hospitalized were 1.5 times more likely to develop persistent hypertension compared to people with flu.
People infected with SARS-CoV-2 who were over 40 years old, black adults or those with pre-existing conditions all had an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure.
He added: “These findings should heighten awareness to screen at-risk patients for hypertension after COVID-19 illness to enable earlier identification and treatment for hypertension-related complications, such as cardiovascular and kidney disease.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker