By John Ensor •
Updated: 21 Aug 2023 • 17:20
Image of doctor taking a patient's blood pressure.
Credit: Monkey Business Images/shutterstock.com
Could Covid-19 be responsible for causing high blood pressure in individuals who have never suffered from the condition before? A recent study seems to suggest so.
The unsettling research, published in the journal Hypertension and conducted by Dr Tim Q Duong from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, analysed the medical records of over 45,000 patients in the Bronx, a borough of New York City which is home to a large and ethnically diverse population. The study found that a significant number of patients who were hospitalised due to Covid with no prior history of hypertension developed the condition within six months, as reported by Metro, Monday, August 21.
Among those over 40, men, Black adults, and individuals with various pre-existing conditions, the risk of developing high blood pressure was notably higher. After six months, 21 per cent of people hospitalised with Covid and 11 per cent of those not hospitalised for Covid developed hypertension. This was in contrast to 16 per cent of those hospitalised with flu and four per cent not hospitalised for flu.
‘Given the sheer number of people affected by Covid-19 compared to influenza, these statistics are alarming, and suggest that many more patients will likely develop high blood pressure in the future, which may present a major public health burden,’ said Dr Tim Q Duong.
A healthy blood pressure reading should not exceed 120/80, while anything above 140/90 is considered hypertension.
Dr Duong emphasised that Covid is generally more severe in patients who already have high blood pressure. He also urged for increased awareness to screen at-risk patients for hypertension after Covid-19 to enable earlier detection and treatment of related complications.
‘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.’
The authors pointed out that the study primarily involved communities with low socioeconomic status, possibly increasing their vulnerability to hypertension post-Covid. Other contributing factors might include isolation, mental stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, and weight gain during the pandemic.
Furthermore, the researchers emphasised the necessity for additional studies to ascertain whether Covid-induced hypertension resolves itself or if it will have a prolonged impact on patient health and strain on the healthcare system.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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