COVID-19 may raise blood pressure or trigger hypertension. Research suggests that the pandemic generally correlated with a widespread rise in blood pressure, perhaps due in part to increased stress.

Because COVID-19 is a new disease, researchers still do not fully understand how it works, what causes differences in its severity among individuals, or which factors trigger long-term effects in some people and no effects in others. As research evolves, the evidence of a link between COVID-19 and high blood pressure may change or offer more detail.

Preliminary research suggests COVID-19 may lead to elevated blood pressure and that in some people, this may be enough to trigger hypertension. Some researchers have also suggested that factors such as stress related to the pandemic, independent of infection status, may have led to slight blood pressure increases. High blood pressure is a risk factor for severe COVID-19.

Read on to learn more about the link between COVID-19 and high blood pressure.

Coronavirus data

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub for the most recent information on COVID-19.

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Research has consistently found that COVID-19 is a risk factor for new or worsening heart disease. High blood pressure can damage the heart, causing disease. It can also be a symptom of a heart condition.

After COVID-19 illness

A 2022 analysis of almost 154,000 veterans with COVID-19 found higher rates of heart disease after having the illness. This increase occurred independently of other risk factors, such as smoking or high blood pressure, and happened even with mild COVID-19.

A 2022 study directly tested the role of COVID-19 in blood pressure. Researchers followed up with 153 people who spent time in the hospital with COVID-19 an average of about a month after their hospitalization. These individuals did not previously have high blood pressure levels.

At the time of admission, the average level was 120.9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) systolic over 78.5 mm Hg diastolic. A month later, the average was 126.5/81.8 mm Hg. New hypertension, defined as blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg, was present in 18 participants.

This suggests a correlation between COVID-19 and high blood pressure. However, researchers do not yet know what explains this correlation, whether these changes in blood pressure are temporary, or whether this correlation exists in people with mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Effects of the pandemic

Some research suggests the pandemic may have triggered a general blood pressure increase.

A 2021 study compared the blood pressure levels of 464,585 participants during the pandemic with their levels from the prior year. No significant changes occurred between 2019 and March 2020, before the pandemic became widespread. However, from April through December 2020, there were significant monthly blood pressure increases.

Compared with the previous year, average monthly systolic levels increased by between 1.1 and 2.5 mm Hg, and diastolic levels increased by between 0.14 and 0.53 mm Hg.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause high blood pressure.

The pain and temporary stress of receiving a vaccine may trigger a rise in blood pressure as part of the body’s natural stress response. This is not harmful.

Generally, these vaccines may help prevent high blood pressure and other signs of heart disease by lowering the risk of developing COVID-19.

Learn more about COVID vaccines.

High blood pressure is treatable and manageable. Making lifestyle changes, taking medication, and managing underlying conditions such as diabetes can often help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.

This may also be the case for people with hypertension that occurred as a result of COVID-19. However, because research into this area is new, scientists do not yet know what may cause the blood pressure rise or whether specific interventions work best for hypertension from COVID. It is also unclear whether blood pressure changes are permanent without treatment.

It is best for people with new or worsening high blood pressure to talk with a doctor about treatment and management options.

Preventing high blood pressure associated with COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of contracting the illness. In this way, they may also reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure related to COVID-19.

Other prevention strategies that can offer some protection include:

Learn more about coronavirus transmission prevention.

Research points to a link between COVID-19 and hypertension. Hypertension may be a risk factor for severe COVID-19 symptoms, and COVID-19 may be a risk factor for increases in blood pressure.

Researchers do not yet understand this link, and studies are ongoing. That said, some have already established a strong link between COVID-19 and new or worsening cardiovascular disease symptoms.

Preventive techniques such as vaccines and masking are the safest strategies to avoid contracting COVID-19 and developing related health effects.