New study cites high blood pressure as an ongoing heart health risk factor, which could lead to greater complications for those who face seasonal flu, COVID infection, and long COVID symptoms
HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL, October 6, 2022 – As the U.S. enters another cold and flu season along with the potential of rising infections from COVID variants, global heart health leader OMRON Healthcare is issuing a national health alert warning of increased risk for those with high blood pressure and calling for regular blood pressure monitoring and active management of hypertension. Clinical data shows high blood pressure contributing to complications from COVID1 and could factor into “long COVID” symptoms.2 Research also shows high blood pressure as an aggravating chronic condition for complications from seasonal flu – a 2018 study found that the risk of having a heart attack was six times higher within a week of a flu infection.3
As part of this national health alert, OMRON Healthcare executives also point to new research published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology,4 which projects that high blood pressure and other risk factors associated with heart disease are expected to significantly increase in the years ahead.
“High blood pressure is a national health crisis affecting 116 million U.S. adults and the risks of heart attack and stroke are even higher during cold and flu season. The data from this new published study shows the urgency of this crisis continues to grow and affect more Americans,” said Ranndy Kellogg, president and CEO of OMRON Healthcare. “Fortunately, we are not helpless in facing this health crisis. Regular blood pressure monitoring reveals your risk. Take action to manage high blood pressure, which reduces your risk. There are more tools than ever before to help anyone prevent heart attack and stroke.”
OMRON Healthcare offers these tips to reduce cardiac event risks during cold and flu season:
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly – Your blood pressure changes over time and even fluctuates during the day. Monitor your blood pressure weekly or daily to understand your heart health, especially during cold and flu season and times of heightened risk of COVID transmission.
- Take action to manage high blood pressure – If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, you may be at higher risk of greater complications from COVID or a seasonal bout with the flu. Talk to your doctor and take action to manage your condition and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- If you have COVID or the flu, watch your blood pressure closely – If you have COVID, long COVID symptoms, or the flu, talk to your doctor and monitor your blood pressure twice a day, or as recommended by your provider. Increased cardiac event risk can be present even after you no longer feel symptoms from COVID or flu infection.
- Get vaccinated for influenza and stay updated on COVID booster eligibility – The flu vaccine is widely available along with COVID vaccines targeting common variants. If you are already vaccinated for COVID, boosters are now available, which can help your immune system fight the most common and dangerous variants and reduce your symptoms.
According to the Houston Methodist review, getting the influenza vaccine substantially reduces cardiovascular risks associated with complications from the flu.5
“As a physician already concerned about the high blood pressure crisis, I know these risks increase during the cold and flu months and can be even higher during the pandemic. I encourage everyone to be proactive. Know your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor. If you are on a treatment plan, make it part of your daily routine. Your health is worth the effort,” said Dr. Renee Matthews, an author and content creator focused on health education and bridging health gaps.
“For anyone with uncontrolled Stage 2 hypertension, I recommend you ask your doctor about innovative treatment options such as remote patient monitoring services covered by Medicaid and some insurance plans. VitalSight by OMRON helps build better health habits and flags data to the doctor when urgent action needs to be taken. VitalSight also comes with a hub that does not require home Wi-Fi so data can be sent to the doctor – that’s an important way to bridge the heart health gap,” said Dr. Renee.
Every OMRON blood pressure monitor is a medical device, validated for accuracy and reliability. The company’s connected blood pressure monitors sync with the OMRON Connect app, which helps people store, track and share their data with family or their healthcare provider and offers real-time insights and coaching in support of better heart health.
Visit OmronHealthcare.com for more information on the company’s range of connected monitors, the OMRON Connect app, and the company’s remote patient monitoring service, VitalSight by OMRON.
About OMRON Healthcare, Inc.
OMRON Healthcare, Inc., is the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of personal heart health products, and an innovator in technologies supporting respiratory and pain management care. With nearly 50 years of medical device category leadership, OMRON is passionate about empowering people to take charge of their health at home through precise technology. Its market-leading products include a full-range of home blood pressure monitors, nebulizers, and TENS devices. The company’s mission is Going for Zero, the elimination of heart attack and stroke. For more information, visit OmronHealthcare.com.
MWW for OMRON Healthcare, Inc
- “COVID-19 and hypertension: The What, the Why, and the How.” National Library of Medicine, May 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8126692/
- More than 50 Long-term effects of COVID-19, a meta-analysis https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.27.21250617v2.full.pdf
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Who is at Higher Risk of Flu Complications? https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/heartdisease.htm
- “Cardiovascular Disease Projections in the United States Based on the 2020 Census Estimates.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Aug. 2022, https://www.jacc.org/doi/full/10.1016/j.jacc.2022.05.033.
- Houston Methodist. “Flu and heart disease: The surprising connection that should convince you to schedule your shot.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2021. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/10/211015184212.htm.