COVID-19, Blood Strain Medicines, a Scary Combine

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COVID-19, Blood Pressure Medicines, a Scary Mix

People with high blood pressure who become infected with COVID-19 need to be vigilant while observing and knowing their readings.

The reason: It seems that some patients may have to stop taking their blood pressure medication if their blood pressure falls dangerously low. When this happens, the condition called hypotension can damage the kidneys. It can also be fatal.

This finding was one of three studies of COVID-19 and blood pressure presented at the American Heart Association's virtual conference earlier this month. Another study confirmed that the most common chronic illness that hospitalized COVID-19 patients had in common was high blood pressure, followed by diabetes. A third study, albeit with a smaller, probably critically ill, group of hospitalized patients found that those patients who took angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) were at greater risk of prematurely to die than those who weren't. t take these drugs.

Chances of survival

In the hospital study, the researchers wanted to know which COVID-19 patients are most likely to experience kidney damage. Patients with mild hypotension were twice as likely to die by arriving to the emergency room, regardless of the severity of COVID-19, age, or other illness. The study included nearly 400 patients who were hospitalized in a medical center in Italy over a six-week period.

"When people get really sick and have an infection, their blood pressure often drops, and when you start taking blood pressure medication that drop can be profound," said Kathryn A. Boling. MD, a family doctor at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

Low blood pressure also a risk

In the ACE-ARB study, 172 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 at the University of Miami / JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Florida. Of the patients taking ACE inhibitors or ARBs for high blood pressure, 33% died. Of those who did not take these drugs, 13% died. Patients who received these blood pressure medications were also more likely to end up in the intensive care unit (28% versus 13%) than those who did not take these medications.

Jennifer Nelson is a Florida-based health writer who also writes on health and wellness for AARP, PBS 'Next Avenue, Shondaland, and others.

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