Study: COVID-19 pandemic causing a rise in high blood pressure in adults
A new study has found that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a rise in high blood pressure in adults.
Researchers have found that there has been a significant increase in high blood pressure in adults – particularly women – since the pandemic began. Researchers studied almost 500,000 people from April 2020 through December 2020. They compared the rates to the same time of 2019.
Health experts are blaming adults’ lifestyles during the pandemic.
“When you looked at average blood pressure prior to and then during the pandemic, there was a significant rise,” says Dr. Lois Greene.
Greene spent decades as an emergency room nurse before getting a doctorate in health administration. She is also on the board of the American Heart Association, where she chairs the Blood Pressure Mission Committee – battling high blood pressure by educating the public well before the pandemic began.
“Prior to the pandemic, we were trying to educate the community and have people recognize they can take charge of their health,” Greene says.
The study out of the Cleveland Clinic shows a significant rise in blood pressure cases during the pandemic. It is concerning, but not necessarily surprising, according to Greene, given the changes in many people’s lifestyles
“Everybody was on lockdown, so people weren’t accessing their health care providers. Alcohol consumption definitely went up. We ate more. We were more stressed,” Greene says. “We need to reengage with our health care providers. We need to know what our blood pressure is and we need to know what a good blood pressure is.”
Greene says that blood pressure should be monitored regularly. High blood pressure is treatable. If it isn’t, it can lead to heart disease and stroke.
“It’s managed with medication and if we manage it well, we live well,” Greene says.
Other ways to maintain better blood pressure include a healthy diet, getting sleep, being more active, and trying to lower stress.
Greene says that there are no symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it is often called a “silent killer.”