What People with High Blood Pressure Need to Know About COVID-19

What People with High Blood Pressure Need to Know About COVID-19

By Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC

What People with High Blood Pressure Need to Know About COVID-19

The vast majority of the country has undertaken extraordinary measures to protect US residents from COVID-19 infection, but many are still wondering what people with high blood pressure need to know about COVID-19. It has been established through studying the data of patients with COVID-19 that there are two groups of people who are particularly at risk from the virus: the elderly, and those with a chronic disease or condition. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure are all risk factors. The WHO’s understanding of the average mortality rate of novel coronavirus is 3.4%. However, the American Heart Association’s reckoning of the mortality rate for novel coronavirus sufferers with high blood pressure is 6%. Given that more than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, this is a significant concern. The Holistic Healing Heart Center is doing what it can to make sure those at increased risk know what to do to give themselves the best chance of making it through the pandemic unscathed.

Managing High Blood Pressure during the Coronavirus Pandemic

It’s important to only heed information from credible sources in this time of misinformation and confusion. There has been speculation that certain varieties of blood pressure medications, specifically angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and renin-angiotensin system (RAS) blockers, could make people more susceptible to COVID-19 infiltration into the lungs and increase the likelihood of death as a result of COVID-19. 

The medications are also known as RAAS (renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system) antagonists, or blockers. They are commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure. They include angiotensin-converting enzyme (also known as ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). The American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Heart Failure Society of America put out a joint statement in March, giving their recommendations that patients do not stop taking their prescribed blood pressure medication, as there is no research to suggest that it has any of the suggested interactions with the virus. The consensus is that even if there is an effect, which there is currently no proof for, the virus is most deadly when attacking people with severely undermined immune systems, and unmedicated high blood pressure would certainly have a grave effect on a patient’s system.

Those suffering with high blood pressure should also take caution in the general medication they use, if they aren’t already.

  • Common OTC pain medication: Medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen can raise blood pressure and should be avoided before checking with a doctor. An alternative is acetaminophen.
  • Prescription medication: While you should continue to take all prescription medicine, there are certain types of drug that can have unwanted side effects on a patient’s blood pressure. Oral birth control, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, mental health medication, and some cancer medication can influence blood pressure. Monitor carefully and check in with your doctor if you observe a change.
  • Alcohol and caffeine: These psychoactive agents also influence blood pressure and should be avoided.
  • Herbal ‘remedies’: Natural and home remedy combinations can sometimes actually make things worse. Licorice is one example.

Telehealth for High Blood Pressure in the Coronavirus Pandemic

If your high blood pressure requires attention but you don’t want to risk traveling to your healthcare provider you may have an alternative. The Holistic Healing Heart Center offers remote blood pressure monitoring. With a single Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure measuring cuff and a device for contacting us if necessary, patients can avert complications from high blood pressure such as heart disease or heart attacks. This measure has been observed to coincide with significant differences to patients’ blood pressure over a timescale of months. The Center also offers telehealth check ins for those with hypertension, blood sugar concerns, cardiac disorders or heart failure. Medicare as well as several PPO Plans cover remote patient monitoring. There’s no excuse not to take advantage of this program while the pandemic makes traditional clinic visits a significant risk.


Contact us today to sign up for, or learn more about Remote Blood Pressure Monitoring. Available for patients located anywhere in California. Email staff@drcynthia.com to request a consultation.

About the author

Dr. Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC is a Harvard-trained cardiologist serving the greater Los Angeles community at her holistic health center in Burbank and Valencia, CA. Dr. Thaik is the author of Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core. To learn more about Dr. Thaik or the Holistic Healing Heart Center, or to schedule an appointment, please contact info@drcynthia.com or call (818) 842-1410.