Social isolation during COVID-19 pandemic linked with high blood pressure

Social isolation during COVID-19 pandemic linked with high blood pressure

Lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with an increase in high blood pressure among patients admitted to emergency. That’s the finding of a study presented at the 46th Argentine Congress of Cardiology (SAC).

SAC 2020 is a virtual meeting during 19 to 21 November. Faculty from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) will participate in joint scientific sessions with the Argentine Society of Cardiology as part of the ESC Global Activities programme.

“Admission to the emergency department during the mandatory social isolation period was linked with a 37% increase in the odds of having high blood pressure — even after taking into account age, gender, month, day and time of consultation, and whether or not the patient arrived by ambulance,” said study author Dr. Matías Fosco of Favaloro Foundation University Hospital, Buenos Aires.

Mandatory social isolation due to COVID-19 was implemented on 20 March in Argentina as a part of a general lockdown. People were told to stay at home, except for essential workers (e.g. doctors and nurses). The general public were permitted to leave home only to buy food, medicine and cleaning supplies. Schools and universities were closed, and public events were suspended.

“After social isolation began, we observed that more patients coming to emergency had high blood pressure,” said Dr. Fosco. “We conducted this study to confirm or reject this impression.”

The study was conducted in the emergency department of Favaloro Foundation University Hospital. The frequency of high blood pressure1 among patients aged 21 and above during the three-month social isolation (20 March to 25 June 2020) was compared to two previous time periods: the same three months in 2019 (21 March to 27 June 2019) and the three months immediately before social isolation (13 December 2019 to 19 March 2020).

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