In the early days of the pandemic, many doctors claimed a link between Covid-19 and hypertension. Could this be the most common disease in the world (in people over the age of 65) increasing the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus? Or perhaps hypertension leads to a higher risk of death? At this point, it’s impossible to definitively answer all of these questions. But given the first few months of the epidemic, some conclusions can already be drawn.
A study published by scientists from the University of Basel at the beginning of the pandemic suggested that some antihypertensive drugs, particularly converting enzyme inhibitors (based on perindopril) and angiotensin 2 inhibitors (Candesartan, Eprosartan, Irbesartan, losartan, Olmesartan, Telmisartan, Valsrtan), two types of drugs commonly used by patients with high blood pressure, contribute to the infection by Covid-19. By affecting a protein that plays a key role in blood pressure regulation, it has been hypothesized that they may have facilitated the virus’s campaign to infect the body.
However, 3 studies published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine put patients at ease. Based on results from thousands of coronavirus patients, the researchers found no relationship between taking antihypertensive drugs and the virus. In addition to ACE inhibitors, the researchers found no risk from other commonly used classes of blood pressure drugs: beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and thiazide diuretics.
Later, a team coordinated by the Department of Cardiology at Wuhan University in China presented data that may also reduce concerns about the topic. The researchers studied 1,128 hospitalized patients with hypertension who tested positive for Coronavirus. Of these, 188 were taking blood pressure medication, and 940 were not. The mortality rate in the first group was 3.7%, compared with 9.8% in the second.
Hypertension affects a huge number of people worldwide. Patients with complicated hypertension are considered at risk for severe coronavirus. Complicated hypertension can lead to heart failure, heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation. The development of these conditions in turn can also be provoked by coronavirus, as well as aggravate the course of pneumonia as a complication of COVID-19 virus disease.
As mentioned above, high blood pressure is not a predisposing factor for Covid-19.” Although people with this pathology have a higher mortality rate, this is more due to the “age of these patients.” In any case, patients taking hypotensive medications should not discontinue treatment unless recommended by a physician.