Medical experts have urged hypertensive patients receiving treatment for COVID-19 not to abandon their blood pressure medications to avoid serious complications.
They noted that proper control of blood pressure through adherence to prescribed medications help ensure a better outcome for COVID-19 treatment.
The physicians warned that abandoning blood pressure medications can result in a spike in blood pressure which could result in serious COVID-19 complications.
The experts, Public Health Physician and Chief Executive Officer, Medway Medicals Limited, Dr. Tuyil Mebawondu-Olowu; and former Secretary-General, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, were reacting to a new study which confirmed that high blood pressure does not affect treatment outcomes in people hospitalised with COVID-19.
Researchers of the study had looked at whether two medications used to treat high blood pressure (Ace inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers) could either lessen complications or cause more severe COVID-19 symptoms.
According to the researchers, the study has shown that hypertensive patients with COVID-19 need not worry about stopping their blood pressure medications over a fear of perceived harm.
The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania rather warned that stopping blood pressure “medications can increase the risk for severe complications. Including heart attack and stroke”.
Speaking with our correspondent, Dr. Mebawondu-Olowu stressed that blood pressure drugs help to relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure, noting that avoiding a spike in blood pressure is crucial in avoiding complications while treating COVID-19.
“What the virus does is to attack the receptors in the body. It starts by destroying the blood vessel at the level of the lung, heart, kidney and other organs.
“That’s why hypertensive patients infected with COVID-19 must continue to take their blood pressure drugs.
“Coronavirus is not just a respiratory virus as it attacks other organs of the body.
“And considering the fact that the heart is already having a problem in the case of hypertensives, not taking blood pressure medication when treating COVID-19 is unwise.
“But the blood pressure drugs the patient use may be different to avoid drug reaction to other medications,” he said.
“Dr. Mebawondu-Olowu also asked hypertensive patients with COVID-19 to discuss with their doctor and ensure they are properly monitored.
“If you are managing high blood pressure and have COVID-19, you must talk to your doctor so that he can properly manage your treatment with the pre-existing condition.
“I must also point out that those who have chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, HIV/AIDs must embrace the preventive measures, especially social distancing as they are more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. So it is better if they prevent getting the viral infection,” he said.
Also speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Dr. Odusote said hypertensive patients with COVID-19 must continue to take their blood pressure medications as they could suffer serious complications if they failed to properly manage their blood pressure.
“Hypertensive patients treating COVID-19 must continue to take their blood pressure drugs as research as shown that poor control of blood pressure worsens COVID-19 complications.
“People with elevated blood pressure usually have a worse outcome in COVID-19 treatment compared to those with normal blood pressure.
“Therefore, proper control of blood pressure it must be emphasised is crucial for better treatment outcome in COVID-19,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation, hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure – a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure, is a serious medical condition that can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people ¬– having the condition.
The burden of hypertension, WHO stated is felt disproportionately in low- and middle-income countries, where two-thirds of cases are found, largely due to increased risk factors in those populations in recent decades.
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