COVID-19 associated with new-onset high blood pressure

A new study found people infected with COVID-19 are more likely to develop persistent high blood pressure despite no history of the disease.

The study, published Aug. 21 in Hypertension, analyzed records of more than 45,000 people infected with COVID-19 between March 2020 and August 2022 and compared that data to more than 13,800 influenza patients hospitalized between January 2018 and August 2022 without a history of hypertension.

The analysis found:

  • Twenty-one percent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 11 percent of those who were not hospitalized developed high blood pressure, compared to 16 percent of people hospitalized with influenza and 4 percent of those not hospitalized for influenza.

  • Those hospitalized for COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to develop persistent hypertension compared to people hospitalized with influenza, and those not hospitalized for COVID-19 were 1.5 times more likely to develop persistent hypertension compared to influenza.

  • Those with COVID-19 who were older than 40, Black adults or who had preexisting conditions had an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure.

"Given the sheer number of people affected by COVID-19 compared to influenza, these statistics are alarming and suggest that many more patients will likely develop high blood pressure in the future, which may present a major public health burden," Tim Duong, PhD, professor of radiology and vice chair for radiology research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York City, said in an American Heart Association news release. "These findings should heighten awareness to screen at-risk patients for hypertension after COVID-19 illness to enable earlier identification and treatment for hypertension-related complications such as cardiovascular and kidney disease."


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