Recent data show a higher risk of Covid-19 affecting patients with high blood pressure. Early studies show that high blood pressure was the most common preexisting condition, especially among the people hospitalised.
It went as high as 30-50 percent of the patients. There is also research indicative of doubling the chances of death by coronavirus in people with high BP. This isn’t limited to age anymore because hypertension starts as early as 35 years and is often ignored as stress.
Hypertension is labelled as a silent killer by the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) study conducted last year. The study also stated that one in four adults has high blood pressure in India. Systemic hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, which is responsible for approximately 45 percent of global cardiovascular disease mortality and morbidity.
First signs of hypertension:
● Severe headaches
● Vision problems
● Difficulty breathing
● Pounding in the chest, neck or ears
If you have two or more of these symptoms, we suggest you consult a doctor immediately. This also brings us to why people with hypertension need to take better care of themselves, especially now with Covid-19? A weak immune system puts people with high blood pressure at a greater risk of contracting coronavirus. The longer this goes undetected, the weaker your system gets. Therefore, the best thing to do is stay home and stay safe. You should take a preliminary consultation with your doctor to see if you have hypertension at all. Stock up on OTC medications to treat fever and other maladies. Reduce your sodium intake.
Unknowingly, we consume a lot of sodium through processed meats and cheese. Finally, you need to remember that panic and distress are the enemies of those with hypertension. Take time out and relax. Cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Watch your weight as blood pressure tends to increase as the pounds pile up. Men with a waistline measuring more than 40 inches are at risk, while for women it is 35 inches.
The author is Secretary-General, Indian Society of Hypertension.