Does having high blood pressure increase your risk for COVID-19 or more severe symptoms?
An early data from both China and the U.S. shows that high blood pressure is the most commonly shared pre-existing condition among those hospitalized, affecting between 30% to 50% of the patients. COVID-19 may increase your risk for serious diseases if you do contract the virus.
So what is the link here?
People with high blood pressure have a weaker immune system, so they are at higher risk if they were to contract COVID-19. Long-term health conditions and aging weaken your immune system so it's less capable of fighting off the virus. Nearly two-thirds of people over 60 have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure damages arteries and reduces the blood flow to your heart. That means your heart has to work harder to pump enough blood. And over time, this extra work can weaken your heart to the point where it can't pump as much oxygen-rich blood to your body.
Coronavirus can also damage the heart directly, which can be risky if your heart is already weakened by the effects of high blood pressure.
So what should you do? If you already have high blood pressure, here are some ways you can manage you can do to help manage your blood pressure as well as your mental and physical health during this time.
- Eat heart-healthy foods.
- Stay active.
- Quit smoking.
- Try out some stress management techniques.
- Stay connected with others.
At the end of the day, it’s important to check your blood pressure regularly because you can have a clearer picture of your risk for heart disease and stroke.
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