Hypertension and coronavirus

29. April 2020

What do heart and hypertension patients need to know now?

Heart patients and high blood pressure in times of coronavirus

The whole world is talking about relaxing the corona measures. The Germans are already looking enviously at Sweden, Austria and Denmark. Although the Swedes have hardly taken any measures, everything has actually remained the same there. The contact restrictions in Germany, on the other hand, are to be extended in principle until at least May 3, with the emphasis on “at least”.

The federal and state governments have introduced compulsory masks as of this week. In addition, citizens in Germany are to continue to refrain from private travel as well as supra-regional day trips. Visits to relatives are also still discouraged.

Prof. Udo Di Fabio said in Gabor Steingart’s Morning Briefing: “When we talk about loosening up, the particular vulnerability of certain population groups – when we think of nursing homes, for example – will be taken into account and actually shielded.

This does not mean that they are locked and sealed off, but that contact with these groups of people is specially controlled and safeguarded with hygiene measures. It will continue for months to come with increased hygiene requirements and with distance requirements.

Especially the older patients with high blood pressure are worried about the corona virus

According to a recent Yougov survey, the perceived threat from the corona virus is growing, especially from the perspective of the elderly and people suffering from high blood pressure:

The change is particularly noticeable among respondents aged 55 and over: At the beginning of February (22 percent) and the beginning of March (13 percent), only a small proportion of this age group saw the virus as a major threat to public health, compared to 71 percent in mid-March.

But how are heart patients and people with high blood pressure really affected by the coronavirus?

Health authorities warn that people who suffer from high blood pressure during the corona pandemic are particularly at risk. A question often asked by them and their families is: What should patients with stents, hypertension or cardiac arrhythmia, who are particularly worried about coronavirus, do now?

If you listen to the current recommendations of the World Health Organisation, these people with high blood pressure should be worried about coronavirus, but fear is a bad advisor.

Hypertension should not be underestimated in times of coronavirus

High blood pressure damages the vessels and over time overloads the heart, but the kidneys are also affected. Studies from China show People with high blood pressure are increasingly affected by severe courses of the lung disease Covid-19 in times of the corona pandemic. The results of the Chinese data entries can be summarized as follows:

“In addition to high blood pressure and a weak immune system, “diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer are risk factors for a severe course. The symptoms: In a large study from China with 1,099 patients*, the most common symptoms among inpatients were fever (88.7%) and cough (67.8%). Less frequent symptoms were headaches, sore throat, diarrhoea and a stuffy nose.

Seriously ill patients with high blood pressure complained of high fever and cough. The Heart Foundation reported that about 6 % of the patients admitted had a severe course (intensive medical care/mechanical ventilation).

An increased risk of COVID-19 disease is particularly high among people over 60 years of age who, in addition to lung diseases, also suffer from other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure during coronavirus.

A study in the journal “The Lancet”, which was published recently, indicates that the risk of hypertension patients to be at risk of death from a Covid-19 infection is considered to be twice as high as for people without high blood pressure when infected with the coronavirus.

Due to the communicated risks, there is great uncertainty. But here too, caution is advised in the case of high blood pressure and the coronavirus, but there is no reason to panic. Now it is important that high blood pressure during the corona pandemic is well controlled with medication.

Never discontinue medication against high blood pressure in the corona pandemic

The ACE inhibitor was suspected by some physicians to promote severe courses of Covid-19. But not a single clinical trial could support this theory. Patients should never stop taking their high blood pressure medication during the corona pandemic without consulting their physician.

Nevertheless, many heart patients with high blood pressure are unsettled by the coronavirus because there are many warnings about the new disease. However, people with heart failure and high blood pressure, who often have to take ACE inhibitors, should consult their doctor. However, they should now pay particular attention to their own cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are an increased risk in patients with high blood pressure, as already damaged blood vessels are not good conditions for Covid-19. Patients with high blood pressure should pay particular attention to their values during the corona pandemic, for example with a reliable home blood pressure monitor.

For hypertension in the coronary pandemic, watch your weight and weigh

Particular attention should also be paid to water retention. The most important measure for this is to weigh yourself daily with a personal scale. This is because rapid significant weight gain has nothing to do with diet, but shows that the body stores water – an alarm sign for an overloaded heart and high blood pressure in the corona crisis.

Those affected with high blood pressure should urgently consult their doctor in the corona crisis, so that he can initiate or intensify a water-impelling therapy, advises the NDR health advisor. If they have a blood clotting disorder, there are also some things to consider:

A blood clotting disorder can block an artery and thus trigger a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. In this case, patients are at particular risk from Covid-19. People with an increased tendency to clot must avoid infection at all costs and take their blood-thinning medication exactly as their doctor instructs.

We will all have to live with the coronavirus for quite some time yet. So always stay alert. And stay healthy!