Nearly 60 Percent of Coronavirus Patients Have High Blood Pressure

A new study on nearly 6,000 COVID-19 patients found that more than half had hypertension.

A new study is offering keen insight into some of the underlying conditions that have led to a rash of fatalities due to the coronavirus. The research, which examined 5,700 patients with COVID-19 in New York, found that there is one very common condition among those with coronavirus complications: high blood pressure.

The study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in association with New York-based Northwell Health, aimed to answer the following question: "What are the characteristics, clinical presentation, and outcomes of patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S.?" What the researchers found was that the most common comorbidities among those with COVID-19 were hypertension (56.6 percent), obesity (41.7 percent), and diabetes (33.8 percent).

The research confirms much of the previous conventional wisdom that it is those with underlying conditions who are at most risk of having severe or fatal cases of COVID-19. Similarly, a March study published in the Polish Archives of Internal Medicine found that hypertension is associated with as much as a 2.5-fold higher risk of severe and fatal COVID-19.

But this new research, conducted on a wider group of patients, highlights just how dangerous high blood pressure can be in terms of the coronavirus. Hypertension is typically defined as blood pressure above 130/80. And, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure.

Doctors are still looking into why that's the case, but Sharon Orrange, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine, told GoodRx that "infectious diseases (like COVID-19) and uncontrolled hypertension can be taxing on your immune system. If your immune response is elevated because of severe hypertension and you're trying to fight off an infection, you can imagine how that could be a bad scenario." And for more on factors that make you more prone to COVID-19, here are 15 Seemingly Innocuous Habits That Increase Coronavirus Risk.

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