“High BP is a dangerous factor leading to death and acute distress among those who are infected with COVID-19“
On average, nearly two-thirds of people over 60 have high blood pressure, a condition which could raise their risk of experiencing severe complications from COVID-19 if contracted. Older people and people with pre-existing medical comorbidities (such as high BP, and cardiovascular disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, affecting the lungs and weakening their function. Infectious diseases like Coronavirus make it harder for the heart to pump oxygen-rich blood to the body especially when the lungs are not working at full steam. This added stress can be dangerous for people with High Blood Pressure (High BP). When people with High BP develop a viral infection like Coronavirus, treatment can be difficult, since the immune system is compromised, making it harder to fight the virus and likely leading to a longer recovery period.
Chronic high blood pressure individuals i.e. those with a reading of above 130/80 (mm Hg) may face an increased risk for severe complications if they get the Coronavirus. In worst cases, an individual with a pre-existing heart disease contacting Coronavirus infection may develop congestive heart failure or suffer from a heart attack.
Why does an infectious illness, in this case, COVID-19 lead to the rapid worsening of cardiovascular health? This is likely due to the combination of severe viral illness causing intense pressure on the heart function, for instance rapid heart rate, low oxygen levels due to pneumonia (a severe respiratory illness) and an increased propensity for blood clot formation. A more unusual condition called myocarditis is observed in COVID-19 patients in addition to the increase in heart problems.
The Interconnection between High BP and COVID-19
When it comes to matters of the heart, many people may also be at a risk from underlying conditions like hypertension or High blood pressure which they don’t even know they have. That is where the threat of respiratory infections such as influenza and coronavirus quadruples. These infections can create a “blood storm” of inflammation that courses throughout a person’s body and erodes the muscles in the heart.
Prolonged health conditions weakening the immune system is one reason which pushes people with high blood pressure and pre-existing comorbidity suspectable to a higher risk for coronavirus. Ageing is another condition that weakens the immune system to fight off the virus. A weak heart function is another condition strengthening the attack of COVID-19. Research studies point that influenza or flu is a catalyst for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. A study conducted on 150 patients from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan China found that patients with pre-existing cardiovascular diseases had a significantly higher risk of death when they had contracted COVID-19.
A possible reason for this is the incredible interconnection between the heart and lungs. Rapid breathing causes an automatic increase in the pace of the pulse rate. With blocked arteries or weakened heart function, it becomes harder for the heart to circulate blood and oxygen throughout the body when compared to a normal person.
High BP and COVID-19 – Precautionary Measures
If you or your loved ones belong to this higher-risk group, take preventive precautionary measures. High BP doesn’t necessarily have to lead you or your loved ones to get the COVID-19 infection.
Experts recommend that cardiac patients take extra precautions as the coronavirus outbreak grows, which includes getting vaccinated for the flu and bacterial pneumonia. Here is a list of precautionary measures for High BP and Cardiovascular patients’ high-risk cohort-
- You must not stop taking any of your prescription medications without a doctor’s consultation.
- Avoid or limit the self-medication. Consumption of over-the-counter medications like painkillers and decongestants, such as ibuprofen or naproxen can increase blood pressure and must be avoided.
- People taking prescription drugs like mental health drugs, immunosuppressants, cancer medications must monitor their blood pressure.
- Limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine. If you like caffeine, limit it to a daily maximum of 2 cups.
- To keep your mind calm and stress-free, read, exercise and meditate. Stress can lead to hypertension and subsequently a high blood pressure.
- Keep a stock of your medications. Try to ensure you have enough prescription medication to last until the COVID-19 lockdown ends. Saving digital prescriptions might help you stock up medications in the uncertainties of COVID-19
Consult a Cardio Specialist on Gigadocs
The first step to fighting COVID-19 is a strong immunity and regular medical consultation. Book an online appointment with the best General Physician and Cardiologists around you on the Gigadocs app. Gigadocs is an intelligent practice management software helping you and your family to manage your health and well-being.
In case of any emergency, track important vitals like pulse rate on the Gigadocs app and share them digitally with your GP.
Book a specialist appointment based on your choice according to your location preference, specialty, service or area preference on a single click.
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As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop, the best things you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to keep yourself informed. If you have high blood pressure or another underlying condition, boosting your immune system and avoiding any contact with harmful viruses by following strict social distancing measures, hand-washing and other hygiene practices that can prevent the COVID-19’s spread.