Your Healthy Family: Blood pressure increased for many people during pandemic

Posted at 7:26 AM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 07:26:10-05

A new study shows blood pressure increased significantly for many people during this COVID-19 pandemic. The doctor who led the Cleveland Clinic study said many factors could explain why.

Dr. Luke Laffin, a cardiologist with Cleveland Clinic, said researchers compared data from a three year span and found blood pressure levels went up between April and December of 2020 — when stay-at-home orders and other restrictions were put in place.

"We studied almost 500,000 individuals, and we looked at pre-pandemic changes in blood pressure and post-pandemic, during pandemic, changes in blood pressure to assess if some of the consequences of the pandemic would increase blood pressure, and we definitely saw that," Dr. Laffin said.

Dr. Laffin said they also learned it wasn’t just one specific age group or gender that was impacted – all of the participants saw a similar increase. Women did appear to be among the highest.

Researchers believe the rise in blood pressure is linked to multiple factors, like people living a more sedentary lifestyle, drinking more alcohol, stress, and lack of sleep.

"It's really important that not only doing the public health interventions that we recommend during a pandemic, like vaccinations, but also making sure one is taking care of their regular medical issues, like their blood pressure, their cholesterol, their asthma – whatever the case is – because those tended to be somewhat neglected, particularly in 2020," he said.

Dr. Laffin said they plan to continue their research to see how blood pressure levels may change in the future.