Study: High Blood Pressure Raises Chance of Severe COVID

A severe instance of COVID-19 has already been associated in research with high blood pressure. A recent study from the United Kingdom shows the threshold at which high blood pressure can assist in predicting a serious case of the virus.

The study, which was released on Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, found that persons with systolic blood pressure (SBP, or the top number in a blood pressure reading) above 150 were at the greatest risk.

According to CNN, lead author Holly Pavey, a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge, “we found that in those with diagnosed hypertension, the risk of COVID-19 significantly increased once the high number exceeded 150 mmHg or the low number exceeded 90 mmHg compared to a target blood pressure (120-129/80-89 mmHg)”.

The conclusions were based on information from 16,134 UK residents who tested positive for COVID-19. Of them, 22% had severe COVID-19 and 40% had elevated blood pressure.

The findings add to those of an earlier study indicating, even in those who have received vaccinations and boosters, high blood pressure more than doubles the likelihood of developing a severe case of COVID-19.

Beyond a dichotomous diagnosis of hypertension, “our analysis further implies that there are additional effects impacting the severity of COVID-19,” the scientists noted. “Persons with a higher than target SBP may be less healthy, less active, experiencing more severe hypertension, or have developed drug resistant hypertension. All of these factors suggest that the effects of hypertension have already had detrimental physiological effects on the [cardiovascular] system, which in turn may offer some explanation for the higher risk of severe COVID-19 with uncontrolled SBP.”

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