Should You Keep Taking Your Blood Pressure Meds?

Hauke-Christian Dittrich/DPA via ZUMA

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Like millions of other middle-aged guys, I have high blood pressure. This is a problem:

Scientists are baffled by how the coronavirus attacks the body — killing many patients while barely affecting others. But some are tantalized by a clue: A disproportionate number of patients hospitalized by COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have high blood pressure….An April 8 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 72% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients 65 or older had hypertension.

Luckily for me, my hypertension is well controlled using a small dose of an ACE inhibitor called Zestril. So I should be in pretty—

Researchers agree that [hypertension] drugs affect the same pathways that the novel coronavirus takes to enter the lungs and heart. They differ on whether those drugs open the door to the virus or protect against it….The drugs are known as ACE inhibitors and ARBs, broad categories that include Vasotec, Valsartan, Irbesartan, as well as their generic versions. In a recent interview with a medical journal, Anthony Fauci — the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert — cited a report showing similarly high rates of hypertension among COVID-19 patients who died in Italy and suggested the medicines, rather than the underlying condition, may act as an accelerant for the virus.

Well, that’s just great. Option 1: Hypertension makes the coronavirus more deadly, so take your meds! Option 2: No, it’s the meds that make the coronavirus more deadly, so stop taking them right away!

I would like someone to figure this out very quickly. Thank you.

UPDATE: A couple of studies out of China suggest that hypertension really is at fault, not hypertension drugs. More here.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate