The Pandemic Inside Our Heads – Hypertension and COVID-19
Hypertension (HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure typically does not cause symptoms. Raised BP remains the leading cause of death globally, accounting for 10.4 million deaths per year.
Hypertension is diagnosed if, when it is measured on two different days, the systolic blood pressure readings on both days is ≥140 mmHg and/or the diastolic blood pressure readings on both days is ≥90 mmHg.
World Health Organization (WHO) had estimated that non-communicable diseases like hypertension and other heart diseases, stroke, depression, and cancers will increase by 60% by 2020. While the correct figures for 2020 are still not available, there is a great catalyst for this estimation to come true – ours truly – the COVID-19 pandemic!
It has been observed that hypertension is one of the most common comorbidities associated with severe cases of COVID-19 in patients who have been admitted to hospital and their risk of death. There may be many co-occurring reasons for this, but one of the major reasons may be the susceptibility of hypertension patients to feel a higher range of negative emotions that foster the development of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
First and foremost, a patient of hypertension is already more vulnerable to the virus than someone who is healthy. Second of all, the pandemic has caused a lot of mental stress upon all of us. It’s more likely that anyone with hypertension (and other comorbid diseases) might be even more scared and worried because of the virus. There must be a whole different pandemic on their head going on right now.
I’m sure we all know someone who is suffering from hypertension. Many of us might have it. Many of us probably live with them. Many of us might have friends with this chronic illness.
But have we checked on them lately?
And if you have hypertension, have you checked on yourself lately?
The world is going through a big test right now. We can only pass if we are there for each other. If you know anyone with hypertension, give them a call – check on them. If you have hypertension and you feel the need to talk, don’t hesitate – go ahead and do it!