Many people have concerns about their safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who are among the elderly population and have chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes may be at an increased risk of contracting the virus and developing severe complications. In this article, learn about the risks associated with the novel coronavirus.


High Blood Pressure and Covid-19

Based on what is known today, seniors with coronary heart disease and high blood pressure are likely to experience severe symptoms. It is essential to follow guidance about keeping their conditions under control and follow proper hygiene and health.

In Italy, the average age of those who died because of the virus was 80. But another striking similarity is that more than 75% of the victims had high blood pressure. Although there is no conclusive evidence about the association between high blood pressure and COVID-19, studies are being published on the dangers of hypertension medications that can worsen COVIDd-19 symptoms.

COVID-19 tends to become a killer when it overwhelms the lungs and chokes its victims. There are several types of research being undertaken to understand the complications of Covid-19 and this has led to specific hints.

In some patients, it may be due to the medication, especially ACE2 inhibitors that are often prescribed for high blood pressure and heart disease. Medications are known as ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) interrupt the activity of a receptor called ACE2.

Coincidentally, the SARS-COV2 causing COVID-19 disease likes to bind to these ACE2 receptors to reproduce and grow along the lower respiratory tract. Once it grows, it triggers the release of cells that cause inflammation in the lungs. Inflamed lungs leave patients gasping for breath leading to pneumonia and respiratory failure. 

In other words, if these drugs increase the number of entry points for the virus, they might cause more severe symptoms. Moreover, since it is a very contagious infection, the more sicker and the more chronic conditions you have, the more likely you are not to handle the penetration of the virus. Whereas a young, healthy patient will be able to handle it better and get less ill.


The Flipside – Hypertension Medications to be Used for Treatment


There are about 200 million people on ACE Inhibitors or ARB in the world, which is being infected with the coronavirus COVID-19. A recent letter in The Lancet, a prominent medical journal, recommends alternatives for ACE Inhibitors and ARBs in COVID-19 patients, due to some seemingly legitimate theoretical concerns. However, on the other hand, there is also some evidence that indicates that ACE 2 inhibitors have protective effects against lung injury. 

It was found that SARS which is very similar to Covid-19, also enters the cell via ACE2 receptors. But it turned out that lung injury actually decreased with ACE2 increase. This is confusing because the virus actually uses ACE2 to get into the cell, but if there is more ACE2 around lung injury is less. How is this possible?

It seems that in a host cell with only a few ACE2 receptors, COVID-19 enters through the ACE2 doorway, attaches itself, and injects into the RNA of the cell. The virus then takes over cell replication and reprograms it to make more virus cells. The infection worsens with the reproduction of the virus cells.

However, with the presence of more ACE2 receptors around the cell, the doorway for the virus is plentiful. Many virus variants attach themselves to the receptors and try to inject them into the cell. Now, there are too many variants of the virus and it is unable to conquer the cell’s programming function due to inherent confusion and so are unable to replicate. This indicates that both ACE inhibitors and ARBs might contribute to reducing inflammation, particularly in the lung, heart, and kidney. In fact, some researchers have suggested ARBs as a potential treatment for COVID-19.


High Blood Pressure and Covid-19. – Bottom Line

There is a prevalent confusion of stopping hypertension medications to decrease the risk of coronavirus. Officially, no precise experimental or clinical data is demonstrating an adverse or beneficial association. Hence, there is no recommendation to either stop or start on those specific hypertension medications.

These theoretical concerns and findings of cardiovascular involvement with Covid-19 require detailed research. It is vital to get the science and facts right without getting hysterical about the current pandemic.


Caution is Key

Therefore there is no need to panic if you are suffering from hypertension and under medications. Always consult with your physician with regards to your medications. Follow the right hygiene and lifestyle modifications to keep your blood pressure under control. As always, boost your innate immunity with nutrition, exercise, and sleep as essential pillars of your wellbeing.

A weaker immune system is the number one risk factor for coronavirus and when long term conditions and aging weaken the immune system, it becomes harder for the body to fight off the virus.