COVID-19 Linked to Higher Risk of Developing High Blood Pressure, Compared to the Flu

 Written By John Fernandez

      COVID-19 could raise your risk of developing high blood pressure more than the flu, which is a similar respiratory virus, according to an analysis published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. The findings were described as “alarming” by the study’s lead author.

The study is believed to be the first to focus on high blood pressure in people infected with COVID-19, compared to those who had the flu. High blood pressure, or hypertension, refers to having top and bottom numbers greater than or equal to 130/80 mm Hg.

“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 the study’s senior author, Tim Q. Duong, in a statement. He is a professor of radiology and vice chair for radiology research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York. “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.”

Researchers reviewed data from electronic medical records at the Montefiore Health System in Bronx, New York, which serves a large, racially and ethnically diverse population. The study included 45,398 people with COVID-19 — hospitalized between March 1, 2020, and February 20, 2022 — and 13,864 people with influenza without COVID-19 — hospitalized between January 2018 and February 20, 2022. They all returned to the hospital system for medical reasons within an average follow-up period of six months.

The analysis found that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to “develop persistent hypertension” than those in the hospital with the flu virus, says a news release from the American Heart Association (AHA). People infected with COVID-19 who were not hospitalized were 1.5 times more likely to develop persistent hypertension than their flu counterparts.

People with COVID-19 at higher risk of developing high blood pressure “were older, male, Black or had preexisting conditions such as coronary artery disease or chronic kidney disease,” the AHA states.

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Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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