Catching Covid can trigger high blood pressure – even if you weren’t that unwell

CATCHING Covid may trigger new-onset high blood pressure, a new study claims.

US researchers found even those who did not suffer severe illness had a greater chance of developing the serious condition.

Even those who weren't hospitalised with Covid are more likely to develop hypertension


Even those who weren’t hospitalised with Covid are more likely to develop hypertensionCredit: Getty

Recovery from Covid infection has already been linked to the development of a number of chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, mental health issues and brain damage.

Scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine tracked the health records of more than 45,000 people infected with the bug between March 2020 and February 2022.

They looked for the diagnosis of high blood pressure after discharge.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the pressure in your blood vessels is unusually high – it can be serious if not treated.

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Symptoms are barely noticeable, so it is often missed.

Around one in four adults in the UK have it – but as many as five million have no idea.

The results, published in journal Hypertension, showed one in five (21 per cent) of those who were hospitalised with Covid went on to develop hypertension.

While 11 per cent of those who also tested positive but were not unwell enough to be admitted to hospital still went on to develop the condition.

Senior study author Professor Tim Q Duong, said: “Given the sheer number of people affected by Covid-19, 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.”

The mammoth rollout of vaccines across the UK means many already have some level of protection from the bug.

Jabs have been key in the fight against the virus, helping Brits come out of lockdown and protecting the population from serious illness.

Prof Tim added: “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.”

Previous studies have found the bug increases a person’s risk of developing other cardiovascular issues like venous thromboembolism (VTE), which is a condition when a blood clot forms in a vein.

Other studies have show that people who’ve had Covid are also at risk of myocarditis in the year after discharge.

The only way to find out if you’ve got it is to get a blood pressure test.

All adults over the age of 40 are advised to get checked at least every five years.

This can be done at your GP surgery, some pharmacies, as part of an NHS Health Check and in some workplaces.

Failure to do so could be fatal.

High blood pressure is responsible for more than half of all strokes and heart attacks.

It is also a major risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease and vascular dementia.

What is high blood pressure?

Every blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, shown as one number on top of the other, according to Blood Pressure UK.

The first (top) number is your systolic blood pressure – the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The second (or bottom) number is your diastolic blood pressure – the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels between heartbeats when blood is pumped around your heart.

An ideal blood pressure reading is between 90/60mmHg (millimetres of mercury) and 120/80mmHg.

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You have high blood pressure if your readings are consistently above 140/90mmHg.

If you’re over the age of 80, high blood pressure is considered to be from 150/90mmHg.

Am I at risk of high blood pressure?

If you have high blood pressure, reducing it even a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions.

Doctors can help you keep yours at safe levels with lifestyle changes and medication.

You might be more at risk if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • Do not do enough exercise
  • Drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • Smoke
  • Have a lot of stress
  • Are over 65 years old
  • Have a relative with high blood pressure
  • Are of black African or Black Caribbean descent
  • Live in a deprived area

Source: NHS

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