The first year of the pandemic was difficult. Americans are facing a pandemic, loss of loved ones, fragmented social network blockages, stress, unemployment and depression.
It’s probably not surprising that the country’s blood pressure soared.
Scientists reported that in 2020, blood pressure measurements for nearly 500,000 adults showed a significant increase over the previous year.
This measurement represents the pressure of blood on the arterial wall. Over time, increased pressure can hurt the heart, brain, blood vessels, kidneys, and eyes. Sexual function can also be affected.
“These are not surprising but shocking and very important data,” he said. Donald M. Lloyd Jones, president of the American Heart Association, who was not involved in the study.
“Even a small change in the mean blood pressure of the population can have a significant impact on the number of strokes,” he added. [acidente vascular cerebral], Heart failure events and strokes that may be seen within the next few months. “
Published in a research letter in Circulation late last year, the study killed more than 785,000 Americans and kept chronic health in the midst of a pandemic that hampered access to general health care. To do.
Almost half of all American adults have hypertension. Hypertension is a chronic disease known as a “silent killer” because it has few symptoms but can have fatal consequences.
High blood pressure can also increase the risk of serious illness if you are infected with the coronavirus. (According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US Government, the evidence for this link is mixed.)
A new study conducted by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic and Quest Diagnostics examined data from hundreds of thousands of employees and families in a wellness program that monitors other health indicators such as blood pressure and weight. ..
Participants from all 50 states of the United States and the District of Columbia included people with high blood pressure and people with normal blood pressure at baseline.
“During the pandemic, people weren’t exercising too much, they weren’t receiving regular care, they were drinking more and sleeping less,” he said. Luke Raffin, lead author, preventive cardiologist, and co-director of the Cleveland Clinic Blood Pressure Disorders Center. “I wanted to know if their blood pressure had changed during the pandemic.”
Researchers found that blood pressure measurements remained almost unchanged from 2019 to the first three months of 2020, but increased significantly from April to December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. discovered.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and consists of two numbers. The first number shows systolic blood pressure when the heart contracts, and the second number shows diastolic blood pressure when the heart rests during the beat. Normal blood pressure is thought to be below 120/80 mmHg (so-called 12 over 8), but optimal levels have been controversial for decades.
According to a new study, the average monthly change from April 2020 to December 2020 was 1.10 mmHg to 2.50 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 0.14 to 0.53 for diastolic blood pressure compared to the previous year.
The increase was real in men and women of all ages. Significant increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were observed in women.
The average age of study participants was just over 45, with more than half of them being women. However, critics say that not including information about the race and ethnicity of participants is a major issue in the study, as hypertension is far more prevalent among black Americans than whites and Hispanics. Stated.
Blacks are also disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Raffin said the analysis was meaningless, as only 6% of the survey participants had information about race and ethnicity.
However, when it comes to hypertension, there is a big difference between black Americans and white and Hispanic Americans, a cardiologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and author of the National Blood Pressure Guidelines published in 2017. Kim Williams said.
“Hypertension has been prevalent in the African-American population for decades,” he said. “Our treatments have improved and attempts to pay attention to them have improved, but the gap is widening, and pandemics have hit different aspects of different cultures and societies in different ways. We know that. “
Translated by Luis Robert M. Gonzalves