The first year of the epidemic was difficult. Americans face global epidemics, loss of loved ones, broken social networks, stress, unemployment, and depression.
It is perhaps not surprising that the country’s blood pressure has risen.
Scientists report that in 2020 there was a significant increase in blood pressure measurements for about 500,000 adults compared to the previous year.
This measurement describes the blood pressure on the walls of blood vessels. Over time, increased pressure can damage the heart, brain, blood vessels, kidneys, and eyes. Sexual function can also be affected.
“These are very important data that are not surprising but shocking,” he said. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, president of the American Heart Association, who was not involved in the study.
He added, “Even small changes in the average blood pressure of the population can have a big impact on the number of strokes. [acidente vascular cerebral]Heart failure events and strokes that you are likely to see in the coming months. “
The study, published late last year as a research paper in the Journal of Circulation, found that long-term health conditions are still essential, despite the fact that more than 785,000 Americans are suffering from epidemics and access to health care in general. Will be taken care of.
Nearly half of American adults have hypertension, a chronic condition known as the “silent killer” because it can have fatal consequences, although it does cause some symptoms.
Hypertension can also increase the risk of serious illness if people become infected with the coronavirus. (According to the US Government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the evidence for this link is mixed.)
The new study, conducted by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic and Quest Diagnostics, examined data from hundreds of thousands of health program staff and family members who monitor other health indicators, such as blood pressure and weight.
Participants from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia included people with high blood pressure and those with normal blood pressure at baseline.
“We found that people did not exercise much during the epidemic, they were not taken care of regularly, they drank too much and slept less,” he said. Luke Laughin, lead author, preventive cardiologist and co-director of the Center for Blood Pressure Disorders at the Cleveland Clinic. “We wanted to know if their blood pressure was changing during the epidemic.”
The researchers found that blood pressure readings changed slightly from 2019 to the first three months of 2020, but increased significantly from April to December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Blood pressure is measured in units of millimeter mercury (mm Hg) and consists of two numbers. The first number refers to systolic pressure, when the heart contracts, and the second number refers to diastolic pressure, when the heart stops beating. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 mm Hg (so-called 12 to 8) or less, although optimal levels have been disputed for decades.
The new study found that the average monthly change between April 2020 and December 2020, compared to the previous year, was 1.10 mm Hg to 2.50 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure and 0.14 to 0.53 diastolic blood pressure.
This increase was real among men and women of all ages. There was a significant increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in women.
The average age of study participants was just over 45, and more than half of them were women. But critics say the failure to include information about participants’ race and ethnicity is a significant problem in the study, as high blood pressure is more prevalent among black Americans than whites or Hispanics.
Black people have also been affected by the epidemic. Lafin said information about race and ethnicity is only available to 6% of study participants, so the analysis would not make sense.
But there is a big difference between black Americans and white and Hispanic Americans when it comes to high blood pressure, said Kim Williams, a cardiologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and author of the 2017 National Blood Pressure Guidelines.
“Hypertensive conditions have been an epidemic in the African American population for decades,” he said. “Our treatment modalities have improved and our efforts to address them have improved, but the gap is widening. And we know that epidemics have affected different cultures and different aspects of society in different ways.”
Translated by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves