CLEVELAND – Researchers are continuing to learn more about the long-term effects of COVID-19.
Now, a new study shows the virus has been associated with a risk for developing hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure.
“This study provides another important piece of evidence detailing the impact of COVID-19 on cardiometabolic health within the United States, particularly with blood pressure increases,” said Luke Laffin, MD, cardiologist for Cleveland Clinic.
According to the study, at a six month follow up, hypertension was seen in about 20% of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, and nearly 11% of non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Researchers also found those hospitalized with COVID-19 were twice as likely to develop hypertension than those who contracted influenza.
In addition, hypertension was more common among older adults, males and individuals with preexisting health issues and those treated with certain medications.
Dr. Laffin, who was not a part of the study, said it’s unclear why there’s a link between COVID-19 and hypertension.
However, there are several possible theories.
“The other question is what happens after a COVID-19 infection. Are people more sedentary, are they gaining weight because they’re not able to exercise. We don’t know that, but that is a possibility as well,” he noted.
Dr. Laffin said symptoms of hypertension aren’t always obvious, which is why it’s important to monitor your blood pressure and keep it at a healthy level.