A new study suggests that Covid-19 may cause high blood pressure in individuals who were previously unaffected by the disorder. The research, which analyzed the records of patients in the Bronx, found that a significant number of individuals without a history of hypertension developed high blood pressure within six months of being hospitalized with Covid-19. The study also revealed that people over 40, men, Black adults, and those with pre-existing conditions had an elevated risk of developing the condition.
The study, published in the journal Hypertension, compared the rates of high blood pressure among patients hospitalized with Covid-19 and influenza. It found that 21% of people hospitalized with Covid-19 and 11% of those who were not hospitalized for Covid-19 developed high blood pressure after six months. In comparison, 16% of people hospitalized with flu and 4% of those not hospitalized for flu developed high blood pressure.
The senior author of the study, Dr. Tim Q Duong, expressed concern over the statistics and emphasized the need to screen at-risk patients for hypertension after Covid-19 illness. Early identification and treatment of hypertension-related complications can help prevent cardiovascular and kidney diseases.
The authors did note that the study participants primarily came from communities with low socioeconomic status, which may have increased their susceptibility to developing high blood pressure after Covid-19. Other factors such as isolation, psychosocial stress, reduced physical activity, unhealthy diet, and weight gain during the pandemic may have also contributed to the development of high blood pressure.
Dr. Duong also highlighted that Covid-19 tends to be more severe in patients who already have high blood pressure. The study concluded by emphasizing the need for further research to determine if Covid-related high blood pressure resolves on its own or has a long-lasting effect on patient health and the healthcare system.
Monitoring blood pressure is crucial, and healthy blood pressure readings should be no higher than 120/80. Readings between 121/81 and 139/89 suggest an individual is at risk of hypertension, while a reading above 140/90 is considered high blood pressure.