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Covid-19 advice for people with high blood pressure

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for people with high blood pressure patients ACE inhibitors (ACEi) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)

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Here you can find our Blood Pressure UK advice for people with high blood pressure (hypertension) among changing advice surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) and staying safe.

This page was last updated on 21 October and we are keeping it updated. Please also see the NHSPublic Health England and the BBC for further updates.

CORONAVIRUS ADVICE FOR PEOPLE TAKING ACE INHIBITORS (ACEi) OR ANGIOTENSIN RECEPTOR BLOCKERS (ARBs)

Keep taking your blood pressure medicines as prescribed.

We recommend that you keep taking your blood pressure treatment as normal to keep your blood pressure under control, to prevent serious problems such as a stroke or heart attack. This also applies to people taking these drugs for heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease. 

Note that our advice is not tailored to individuals so please follow the advice of your doctor. 

At the start of the pandemic, some social media sites and newspapers suggested that ACE inhibitors (which have names ending in ‘pril” e.g. ramipril, lisinopril, perindopril) and ARBs (which have names ending in ‘sartan’ e.g. losartan, candesartan, valsartan), which are used to lower blood pressure, could raise the risk of infection or serious complications with COVID-19. This led to some people stopping their medication, but the claims were not based on evidence.

Blood Pressure UK Trustee Professor Bryan Williams examined the data on ACE inhibitors and ARBs and found no increased risk of contracting the virus or of admission to hospital or severe complications. The analysis was published on May 14 in The Lancet.

The latest evidence suggests that ACEi and ARB could even be protective rather than raising the risks of complications of COVID-19. Researchers at the University of East Anglia pooled the data from 19 relevant COVID-19 studies and found a lower risk of severe disease and death among people who were taking these medicines to treat high blood pressure.

We will update this information if new evidence comes to light.

ADVICE FOR EVERYONE WITH RAISED BLOOD PRESSURE 

Professor Graham Macgregor CBE, Chairman of Blood Pressure UK explains: “As far as we are aware, people with controlled high blood pressure are not more likely to catch coronavirus or have a more severe reaction to it. However, the evidence is less clear around uncontrolled high blood pressure, which might put you at higher risk of complications. This includes people with undiagnosed high blood pressure or if medicines are not working well.

The evidence is becoming clearer around who is more likely to be affected seriously by COVID-19 if you do catch it, and this includes people who are older, have existing long-term medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar, kidney disease, and people who are very overweight. Alcohol and smoking are also important risk factors.

The evidence will continue to evolve and we will let you know when more information comes to light. In the meantime, keep looking after your health with a healthy diet and exercise, drink alcohol only within the recommended limits and try to stop smoking if you smoke, and take good care to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus.” 

Stay safe

If you have raised blood pressure, follow the Government advice for everyone to follow to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus. These steps are particularly important if you are over 70 or have an underlying health condition including heart disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. People from

The full guidelines are available from PHE and the NHS, including more information on who is at risk.

If you have a smartphone, download the NHS contact tracing app.

If you have symptoms

If you have a fever, loss of taste or smell, a cough or difficulty breathing, self-isolate and request a Covid-19 test. Tell your healthcare professional that you are taking medication for high blood pressure. 

Use phone, online services or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services, rather than going in person and follow the directions of your local health authority.

Seek help for other medical problems

It's important to get medical help for physical and mental health problems even if they're not related to coronavirus. Treating problems early can often prevent serious illness from developing, which will prevent pressure on the NHS in the long term as well as keeping you healthy.

Call our helpline for advice about your blood pressure 

Our blood pressure helpline is open to all during this time. Reach us by phone on 020 7882 6218 or by email at help@bloodpressureuk.org and we will reply as soon as possible. You can also contact your GP or other NHS services. 

Call 999 for emergencies 

Call 999 for emergencies, including if you think you might be having a stroke or a heart attack. Call even if you're not sure as the NHS would not want you to miss treatment if you need it, even if it turns out to be a false alarm.

Learn the signs of a heart attack and signs of stroke from the NHS. 

Keep monitoring your blood pressure at home as normal

If you have a home blood pressure monitor, keep taking readings as normal. Learn more about home monitoring.

Stay healthy while staying home 

Look after your physical and mental wellbeing with these tips to take care of all aspects of your health.

Read our Q&A with our Hypertension Nurse Specialist

Our Hypertension Nurse Specialist, Nirmala, answers your questions about COVID-19 and high blood pressure.