With the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) announcement that the disease caused by the newly reported novel coronavirus, COVID-19 is a pandemic, the situation is rather tense in India and the world. A search of the very word ‘coronavirus’ gives about over 8.5 billion results on google. And one of the most asked questions after “What are the symptoms?” is “Am I likely to get it?”
One of the reports1 on coronavirus released by the WHO states that people with pre-existing chronic conditions are more vulnerable to complications caused by coronavirus. According to that study, the fatality rate of people with hypertension is 8.4%.
Hypertension and COVID-19
It must be noted that there is a high prevalence of hypertension in India. It is so high that it is estimated that one in three Indians have hypertension2. The Chinese’s experience with COVID-19 has led to a speculation that those with hypertension are at a greater risk of developing serious illness, if they contract coronavirus. This comes from the speculation that the medication that helps keep the blood pressure under control may increase the risk of infection or severity3. But this has not been proven yet. So don’t fall for such statements and consult with your doctor’s advice to know more about medications4.
A lot of the precautionary measures that are given by WHO or the US’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revolve around basic hygiene.
Here are a few pointers for you5:
- Make sure you have enough groceries, medication and other materials so that if you have to stay at home in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community
- Avoid any contact with people who are sick
- Avoid going to crowded places and cancel unnecessary travel
- On the hygiene and cleanliness front, wash your hands often (at least up to 20 seconds) or consider using an alcohol-based rub
- Avoid touching surfaces in a public setting. On an individual front, avoid touching your nose, eyes and the face in general so that you can avoid coming in contact with the virus
- But you must have a plan for the worst-case scenario as well. Keep your family and friends informed so that they can help you in case you fall ill
- Pay attention to yourself and isolate yourself if you notice symptoms like cough, fever and shortness of breath
- As the next step, notify or contact the authorities so that you can get tested. Keep updating the developments to your doctor
Also, remember to watch the source from which you get information on COVID-19. A word of caution – don’t believe everything. False news travels fast. Keep yourself up to date with the reports put out by credible sources.
- Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Internet]. World Health Organisation. 2020 [cited 2020 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf
- Ramakrishnan S, Zachariah G, Gupta K, Shivkumar Rao J, Mohanan PP, Venugopal K, et al. Prevalence of hypertension among Indian adults: Results from the great India blood pressure survey. Indian Heart Journal [Internet]. 2019 Jul 1 [cited 2020 Mar 15];71(4):309–313. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019483219304201
- Fang L, Karakiulakis G, Roth M. Are patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for COVID-19 infection? The Lancet Respiratory Medicine [Internet]. 2020 Mar [cited 2020 Mar 15]; Available from: https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanres/PIIS2213-2600(20)30116-8.pdf
- de Simone G. Position Statement of the ESC Council on Hypertension on ACE-Inhibitors and Angi [Internet]. Escardio.org. 2020 [cited 2020 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.escardio.org/Councils/Council-on-Hypertension-(CHT)/News/position-statement-of-the-esc-council-on-hypertension-on-ace-inhibitors-and-ang
- CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 [cited 2020 Mar 15]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html