COVID-19: What people with high blood pressure must know, from diet to medicine


By: Lifestyle Desk |

Updated: May 9, 2020 5:47:40 pm


high blood pressure, covid 19 Keep your blood pressure under control during the pandemic. (Source: getty images)

Early studies surveying people with the novel coronavirus disease found that up to 30 per cent of them had hypertension, according to a report by The Lancet. So, how are hypertension and the risk of coronavirus related?

“High blood pressure in itself does not cause an increased susceptibility to coronavirus. But from what we have seen so far, about one-fourth to half of the COVID-19 patients who had to be admitted had high blood pressure, among other ailments,” Dr Nishith Chandra, cardiology, director-interventional cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, told indianexpress.com.

He said, “It has been seen that a lot of patients of COVID-19 are asymptomatic or show minor symptoms, and get better. A person with high blood pressure or other heart diseases, who is exposed to the virus, however, is more likely to require hospitalisation or even ventilation, as opposed to infected patients without blood pressure.”

Read| How to stay calm during the coronavirus pandemic

Any comorbidity or existing medical condition like diabetes or heart disease may result in a more severe impact of the virus on the body due to a weaker immune system. Those who have high blood pressure and are already on medication may have compromised immunity. Again, elderly people with coronary heart disease or high blood pressure are more susceptible to the virus.

That said, people with high blood pressure should not be paranoid. “Hypertension is a very common condition, with nearly 30-40 per cent of the adult population in India suffering from it. The good news is hypertension can be easily controlled. One should ideally strictly control blood pressure during the pandemic,” the doctor advised. Here are some ways to do it.

How to control blood pressure

1. Adhere to a good lifestyle; follow a healthy diet and keep yourself physically active by exercising.

2. Avoid excess salt in your food.

3. Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium like spinach, broccoli, apricots, raisins and dates.

4. Drink three to four litres of water daily to remain hydrated.

5. Limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine to keep your blood pressure levels in check.

6. If you are unable to control blood pressure, consult your doctor without delay.

Read| Coronavirus and the elderly: All you need to know

Do blood pressure medicines increase COVID-19 risk?

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine stated that blood pressure medicines do not put you at more risk of contracting the virus. Besides, on March 17, 2020, the American Heart Association, Heart Failure Society of America and the American College of Cardiology issued a joint statement to confirm that one should not stop taking the prescribed medicines for blood pressure. “These medications don’t increase your risk of contracting COVID-19. They are vital to maintaining your blood pressure levels to reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and worsening heart disease,” the guidelines read.

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