COVID-19: Persons living with high blood pressure urged to take extra care

Dr Aneisha Moore-Thorne

Dr. Aneisha Moore-Thorne, a Family Medicine Specialist, has noted that persons living with hypertension (or high blood pressure) are at an increased risk of developing the most complicated form of the COVID-19.

“Hypertension or High Blood Pressure, as it is commonly known is a disease that commonly affects the middle aged and elderly populations. Since Hypertension is more common as people grow older, that means many of the same people with High Blood Pressure already overlap with the elderly population known to be at risk for contracting COVID-19 and for developing the very severe complications of the disease should they contract it. This risk worsens even more if the high blood pressure is not controlled,” Dr Moore-Thorne noted during a virtual message.

She added: “Even though COVID-19 is new to us, what is known is that like any other viral illnesses such as the flu, it can damage the respiratory system and make it harder for your heart to work, something that already happens with Hypertension. This, in turn, can lead to worsening symptoms.”

Here are some tips:

1. Keep monitoring your blood pressure, as far as you are able and is possible. Remember it’s important to rest for at least 15 minutes before taking the blood pressure.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle – ie exercise for at least 30 minutes, at least 3 times per week and eat a balanced diet, low in salt and oils
3. Keep taking your medications. Ensure that you take them as prescribed by your doctor; right dose, right time
4. Avoid stressful situations, or if unavoidable, manage them well
5. Follow the same guidelines put forward by the Ministry of Public Health
– Wash hands frequently and properly using soap and water especially if they are soiled or use an alcohol-based sanitizer if your hands are not soiled.
– Resist from touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
– Stay home unless it is absolutely necessary that you have to leave
– If you must leave the house, wear a face mask. This will help in practicing goof respiratory hygiene.
– Maintain physical distancing when out in public places- Stay at least 3 feet away from other persons.