COVID-19 and Hypertension
Why managing your blood pressure has never been more critical.
By Liza Klassen | September 2021 | Reviewed by Dr. Kelly Clinning ND
Hypertension and COVID-19 | Measuring Blood Pressure | Controlling Blood Pressure | Hypertension Interventions
Monitoring and treating your blood pressure is an essential health habit that we now know is particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hypertension is a preventable and treatable condition that when well-controlled, decreases your risk of severe COVID-19 complications. There has never been a more important time to take control of your cardiovascular health!
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 1 in 4 Canadians. As a healthy adult in Canada, your lifetime risk of developing hypertension is 90%. Taking proactive steps to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure is important, especially if you have a family history of hypertension. If you currently have hypertension, early and effective treatment reduces your risk of a cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke. Maintaining control of your blood pressure can also reduce your risk of developing severe presentations of COVID-19.
The Connection Between Hypertension and COVID-19
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Public Health Agency of Canada identified those with pre-existing conditions, including hypertension, as higher risk of severe complications from the virus. Untreated hypertensive patients are at the highest risk; therefore, understanding your blood pressure numbers, monitoring frequently and most importantly treating your blood pressure is even more important now than ever.
Recent data from over 11,000 patients across eight different countries showed that 42% of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 had hypertension. Studies also show an independent link between increased mortality rates and hypertension. (Al-Abbasi B, et al., 2020).
It’s important to acknowledge that if you have hypertension, you are at increased risk of having a severe presentation of COVID-19. While this seems daunting, the good news is that hypertension is treatable! In the same study referenced above, the authors found that patients treated for hypertension have a reduced risk of mortality than those not currently treated.
Blood Pressure Medications (ACEI and ARBS) and COVID-19
Early on in the pandemic, researchers proposed a potential increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 infections with the use of ACE inhibitor and ARB medications. The COVID-19 virus enters cells by targeting the ACE-2 receptor, which both ACEI and ARB medications increase the expression of.
Since then, several studies have investigated this potential effect and all have concluded that there is no evidence of increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and no evidence of increased risk of severe complications of COVID-19 in those who are taking an ACEI or ARB medication ((Li et al., 2020), (Mehra et al., 2021), (An et al., 2021), (Patel and Verma, 2020).
Experts from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the Heart Failure Society of America all agree that these essential medications should not be discontinued. Speak with your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about your hypertension medication.
Knowing your Numbers
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, blood pressure monitors at most pharmacies are not available. Routinely monitoring at home is an excellent way to stay on top of your blood pressure. Check out this article for the steps to follow to ensure your at-home blood pressure readings are accurate and reliable.
Remember to use a validated BP device. Hypertension Canada provides a list of recommended devices that have been proven accurate in research studies.
There are many free resources to track and monitor your blood pressure, including our PreCardix® Blood Pressure app. Monitoring your blood pressure regularly (even daily!) is important to ensure that your numbers are well managed during this time.
Managing Your Blood Pressure
A peer-reviewed, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study published in the International Journal of Hypertension, shows bioactive marine peptides from hydrolyzed shrimp shells (Pandalus Borealis) have a statistically significant effect on blood pressure health, are effective for 89% of adults in eight weeks or less, have an ACE-inhibiting action, and have no significant side effects. Experiencing improvements in blood pressure levels may contribute to a sense of control, success and, most importantly, the well-being needed to implement other lifestyle changes!
Addressing modifiable lifestyle risk factors associated with high blood pressure is necessary at all stages of hypertension. Hypertension Canada encourages healthy habits like; increasing physical activity, weight management, decreasing sodium intake, smoking cessation and stress management. Adding these simple lifestyle changes to your blood pressure management plan allows you to take control of your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of COVID-19 severe complications.
For more expert advice on blood pressure health, and overall health and wellbeing, visit our growing library of articles at precardix.com/blog.
Always consult with your health care provider before making changes to your blood pressure management plan. PreCardix® does not treat, cure or prevent blood pressure related conditions. Measure and monitor blood pressure regularly. Know the signs of heart attack and stroke. Do not take PreCardix® if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have renal artery stenosis, history of angioneurotic edema or shellfish allergy.
An, J., Wei, R., Zhou, H., Luong, T., Gould, M., Mefford, M., Harrison, T., Creekmur, B., Lee, M., Sim, J., Brettler, J., Martin, J., Ong‐Su, A. and Reynolds, K., 2021. Angiotensin‐Converting Enzyme Inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers Use and COVID‐19 Infection Among 824 650 Patients With Hypertension From a US Integrated Healthcare System. Journal of the American Heart Association, [online] 10(3). Available at: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.019669. <http://Angiotensin‐Converting Enzyme Inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers Use and COVID‐19 Infection Among 824 650 Patients With Hypertension From a US Integrated Healthcare System>.
Ernesto L Schiffrin, John M Flack, Sadayoshi Ito, Paul Muntner, R Clinton Webb, Hypertension and COVID-19, American Journal of Hypertension, Volume 33, Issue 5, May 2020, Pages 373–374, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajh/hpaa057
Dobkowski, D. (2020, September). Studies find hypertension most prevalent comorbidity in patients hospitalized for COVID-19. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.healio.com/news/cardiology/20200910/hypertension-may-affect-outcomes-in-covid19
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