"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

COVID can increase the danger of hypertension

August 21, 2023 – Infection with COVID-19 may increase an individual’s risk of developing hypertension, in response to a recent study.

High blood pressure affects approx. half of adults in the US and represents a major risk factor for potentially fatal health problems equivalent to heart disease or stroke. Researchers expressed concern concerning the sheer number of individuals developing the disease, which over time could cause severe damage to an individual's arteries, heart and other parts of the body.

Among people within the study who had COVID but had no history of hypertension:

  • One in five people hospitalized for COVID developed hypertension inside six months.
  • One in 10 individuals who had COVID but weren’t hospitalized developed hypertension inside six months.

The study appeared on Monday in hypertensiona journal published by the American Heart Association. Researchers analyzed data from greater than 45,000 individuals who had COVID between March 2020 and August 2022. The people had no history of hypertension, sometimes called hypertension. All of the people were being treated at Montefiore Health System within the Bronx, NY, and had returned to the hospital for medical reasons inside a median of 6 months.

Hypertension is defined as “with upper and lower values ​​greater than or equal to 130/80 mmHg,” an American Heart Association Press release specified.

In an evaluation assessing the impact of COVID, researchers compared the percentages of latest hypertension in individuals who had the flu to those that had COVID. The odds of developing hypertension were greater than twice as high in hospitalized COVID patients as in hospitalized flu patients. People who had COVID but weren’t hospitalized were 1.5 times more prone to develop hypertension in comparison with nonhospitalized flu patients.

Those at biggest risk are people aged 40 and over, men, or individuals with conditions equivalent to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary heart disease, or chronic kidney disease.

The authors noted that individuals within the study mostly lived in a low socioeconomic area, which is usually a risk factor for hypertension. Aspects of the pandemic apart from the virus itself might also have influenced hypertension risk, equivalent to isolation, low activity, poor weight loss program and psychological stress. The researchers said more studies are needed to beat the constraints of their research, particularly that it only included individuals who interacted with the health care system and that they didn’t know whether some people already had hypertension that was just undiagnosed.

“Given the sheer number of people affected by COVID-19 compared to the flu, these statistics are alarming and suggest that many more patients are likely to develop hypertension in the future, which could pose a major public health burden,” said researcher Tim Q. Duong, PhD, professor of radiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System, in a press release. “These findings should raise awareness of screening at-risk patients for hypertension after COVID-19 illness to enable earlier identification and treatment of hypertension-related complications such as cardiovascular and kidney disease.”