SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The main underlying health condition that leads to a COVID-19 death is hypertension. In Louisiana, it’s more than 57-percent of the related COVID-19 deaths.
Hypertension which is high blood pressure is known as the “silent killer.” A large majority of patients admitted into ICU for COVID-19 also have high blood pressure. It causes other conditions like heart failure and stroke leaving a patient unable to fight off the virus properly.
“So if someone has high blood pressure and has had it for a long time they end up having less reserve to deal with it. For example is someone has high blood pressure that’s untreated for ten, twenty years they likely do not have normal kidneys or blood vessels,” said Dr. Abdul Latif Bikak, Heart Failure Cardiologist WKHS.
Dr. Bikak said high blood pressure is more common in the western world than developing countries partly due to diet and exercise.
“How deadly this disease has been to our population emphasizes certainly to a physician, but all of us how there are certain things we’ve been doing wrong. In terms of our approach our diet, our approach to exercise, our approach to what’s called primary prevention,” Bikak said.
He said hypertension in an adult population can be as prevelant as 25 to 30 percent. Most are diagnosed in their 40s’.
“That’s the scary part of hypertension that most people would not know they have it until those organ systems fail,” Bikak said.
So the long time advice of eating right and exercising is even more important to save yourself in the future. Putting yourself in your best fighting form should you contract COVID-19.
“I think this is a scary time for all of us. When we start thinking about ourselves and our patients. I think it makes you wonder what we can do to better our health overall because we know that particularly in our life times this is probably not going to be the last pandemic we see,” Bikak said.
Since high blood pressure is so prevalent someone you know is likely to have it. You’re encouraged to have them reach out to their doctor to be checked.