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Skip Navigation Linkshypertension-in-the-covid-19-world Hypertension in the COVID-19 World

Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. Lifestyle adjustments are the standard, first-line treatment for hypertension. Outlined recommendations are:

  • Stay physically active. It is very important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible at a time like this. It is important to remember to take short breaks from sitting. Do 3-4 minutes of light intensity physical movement, such as walking or stretching, this will help ease your muscles and improve blood circulation and muscle activity. Regular physical activity and a healthy diet benefits both the body and mind. It will not only help manage weight but can reduce high blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers – all conditions that can increase susceptibility to COVID-19.
  • Look after your mental health. Working from home, temporary unemployment, homeschooling and a lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues is a reality that takes time to get used to. Adapting to lifestyle changes such as these, managing the fear of contracting the virus and worrying about loved ones, are challenging and can be particularly difficult for people with mental health conditions.
  • Medication. You can use specific medications to treat hypertension. Doctors will often recommend a low dose at first. Antihypertensive medications will usually only have minor side effects. Eventually, people with hypertension will need to combine two or more drugs to manage their blood pressure. Always consult your medical practitioner when serious concern arise.

The COVID-19 pandemic means that many of us are staying at home and doing less in terms of social interactions, exercise and taking care of our eating habits. This can have a negative effect on our physical and mental health. Having high blood pressure requires eating correctly, being mentally strong and physically healthy. Below is advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help you and your family to stay healthy (physically and mentally) at home during this period of confinement.

  • Keep informed. Listen to advice and recommendations from your national and local authorities. Follow trusted news channels, such as local and national TV and radio, and keep up to date with the latest news from WHO on social media, and ignore false social media rumours. Rather use your social media accounts to promote positive and hopeful stories. Correct misinformation wherever you see it.
  • Have a routine. Keep up with daily routines as far as possible, or make new ones.
  • Minimise newsfeeds. Try to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Seek the latest information at specific times of the day, once or twice a day if needed.
  • Social contact is important. If your movements are restricted, keep in regular contact with people close to you by telephone or email.
  • Alcohol and drug use. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink or don’t drink alcohol at all. Avoid using alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with fear, anxiety, boredom and social isolation. There is no evidence of any protective effect of drinking alcohol for viral or other infections. In fact, the opposite is true as the harmful use of alcohol is associated with increased risk of infections and worse treatment outcomes. And be aware that alcohol and drug use may prevent you from taking sufficient precautions to protect yourself against infection, such as compliance with hand hygiene.
  • Screen time and video games. Be aware of how much time you spend in front of a screen every day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities such as laptops, desktops, TVs and mobile phones.
  • Help others. If you are able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it, such as helping them with food shopping.
  • Support health workers. Take opportunities online or through your community to thank your country’s healthcare workers and all those working to respond to COVID-19.
  • Quit tobacco. Smokers have a higher risk of getting a severe case of coronavirus because their lung function is impaired. Quit today to reduce these risks and start living a healthier life.
  • Healthy parenting. Some children and young people may be feeling more isolated, anxious, bored and uncertain. They may feel fear, and grief, over the impact of the virus on their families. Find creative ideas on the internet to keep their minds occupied and to help minimise frustration. Freerice is an online educational trivia game built by the UN World Food Programme that will keep your children entertained and informed, and is part of a movement to end world hunger.
  • Eat healthy.While no foods or dietary supplements can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, healthy diets are important for supporting immune systems in general. Good nutrition can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. For babies and young children, a healthy, balanced diet means healthy physical and mental development. For older people, it can help to ensure healthier and more active lives.


Although this document has been prepared with due care and in good faith, the interpretations and opinions are those of the authors and are subject to change without notice. As such, the contents do not constitute definitive advice and should not be accepted as such. Neither Simeka Heatlh (Pty) Ltd nor the authors accept liability for any damage whatsoever or however it may arise, including but not limited to, direct, indirect or consequential loss that may arise as a result of sole reliance on the information herein. Competent professional advice should be sought when dealing with any contentious issue. Simeka Health (Pty) Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanlam.
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