U.S. Surgeon General warns high blood pressure could increase risk of complications from COVID-19

WASHINGTON — Health officials are warning the public that high blood pressure can lead to a higher risk of complications from COVID-19.

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is very common, affecting nearly one in two Americans.

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The problem, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams says, is that most people don’t have it under control, putting them at risk of other serious health problems.

“We know high blood pressure causes stroke, causes cardiovascular disease, which puts you at higher risk and complications and dying from COVID,” Adams says.

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He adds it’s particularly concerning in minority communities. Adams says around  80 percent of black and brown people who have high blood pressure do not have it under control.

Hypertension is something Adams knows first-hand, dealing with it personally. He says it’s key to regularly check your blood pressure, follow a healthy diet, and exercise.

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“Knowing your numbers either by checking in with your health provider or going to a pharmacy or fire station to get your numbers, but also to take medication as prescribed,” Adams says.

The Surgeon General says the risk for serious problems from high blood pressure increases with age, but people who have it before the age of 40 have even higher risk of having cardiovascular problems later in life.