Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Hypertension is one of the known risk factors for the severe disease “Covid-19”, the extent of hospitalization and death. Research has shown that high blood pressure doubles the risk of severe Covid-19, despite full immunization.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury, with two numbers, upper or systolic, which represents the maximum pressure in the arteries, and lower or diastolic, which shows the pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle is at rest between beats.
But what is considered high enough on a blood pressure reading to cause this risk? Until now, scientists weren’t sure. But a new study conducted in England and published Wednesday in the journal “PLOS One” answered this question.
“We found that people with diagnosed hypertension had a significantly higher risk of developing Covid-19,” Holly Pavey, lead author of the study and PhD student at the University of Cambridge in the UK, which is funded by the British Heart Foundation, he told CNN. The upper reading has exceeded 150 mmHg, or the lower reading has exceeded 90 mmHg, relative to the target blood pressure (120-129 / 80-89 mmHg). “
Research has found that people with this level of uncontrolled hypertension are more likely to recover and die from the Corona virus, aside from other known risk factors such as age, race or obesity.
The new study is able to delve into this aspect and be more specific due to the inherent integration of the UK National Health Service.
This layer allows for data sharing and access to “accurate data on patients’ long-term blood pressure control,” according to Dr. Joseph Ebbinger, associate professor of cardiology and director of clinical analysis at the Smidt Heart Institute of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, American.
Ebbinger, who was not involved in the study, explained that “they found that it was not only related to the diagnosis of hypertension, but also to the increased risk in parallel with high systolic blood pressure, which is a measure of lack of control. . “
Ebinger regrets that many people fail to control their blood pressure properly, even after diagnosing it and taking medication.
“It is estimated that less than half of the people diagnosed with high blood pressure actually have their high blood pressure under control, which is a huge problem,” he explained.
He continued: “This is due to a myriad of factors, including: lack of diagnosis, lack of awareness, non-adherence to medication and inadequate treatment.”
On the bright side, the new study found that success in lowering blood pressure through drugs was associated with a corresponding reduction in the risk of severe Covid-19 infection.
“It is important that blood pressure checks are done regularly and that doctors try to check their patients’ blood pressure,” said Pavey.
He explained that “controlling blood pressure to reach target levels is important, regardless of the type of treatment used to achieve this goal,” adding that “ultimately, controlling blood pressure will help reduce the risk of severe suffering from new strains of Covid-19 “. , or other viruses in the future. “.
An introductory guide to blood pressure
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that “normal” blood pressure readings are generally between 120 mmHg systolic (the upper reading) and 80 mmHg diastolic (the lower reading).
Ebbinger said you’ll likely hear this number often. However, this may not be the number your doctor goes to for treatment.
He explained that doctors used to target a blood pressure reading below 140/90 to control the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Then, in 2015, the results of the SPRINT test, or systolic blood pressure intervention test, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, changed the thinking of many medical professionals.
The SPRINT study found that targeting a blood pressure below 120 systolic (the highest number) among people with high blood pressure who did not have diabetes reduced most cases of heart disease and death. However, there were some side effects, according to the study, including “a higher incidence of kidney damage or acute kidney failure in the intensive treatment group.”
Ebinger pointed out that this possibility is of concern when it comes to the elderly, who often suffer from multiple chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and concerns about kidney disease, among others.
“Therefore, guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association closed the gap in 2017 by establishing guidelines for a systolic reading below 130 and a diastolic reading below 80,” continued Ebbinger. This premise has sparked some controversy among doctors. I think the lower level is better. We want to reduce that number as much as possible. “
The following are the current medical guidelines recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
- A normal normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower.
- Between 120/80 and 129/89 it is classified as prehypertension, which means that blood pressure is not as low as it should be, but it is not medically high.
- 130/80 is considered an early warning, rated stage 1 high.
- 140/90 or higher is considered stage 2 blood pressure.
- 180/110 or higher, when this blood pressure is recorded more than once, the patient should immediately consult a doctor.