New high blood pressure is a potential complication of COVID-19. A doctor can help you develop a plan to get your blood pressure back in a healthy range.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. It’s a potential complication of COVID-19 and other viral infections.

In a 2023 study from Italy, researchers found that people who survived COVID-19 had a 70% higher likelihood of developing new high blood pressure over the following 7 months than those who didn’t get COVID-19.

The results of another study using data from New York City suggest that people hospitalized with COVID-19 might have more than double the chance of developing new-onset high blood pressure than people with influenza. People not hospitalized may have about a 50% higher chance.

Let’s examine how doctors treat high blood pressure after COVID-19.

High blood pressure rarely causes any symptoms until it causes a heart attack or stroke. Monitoring your blood pressure regularly can help prevent these complications.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all people over 18 years of age measure their blood pressure regularly. You can measure your blood pressure at home or at a pharmacy.

The WHO recommends contacting a health professional if your systolic, or top number, exceeds 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or if your diastolic, or bottom number, exceeds 90 mm Hg.

Learn more about checking your blood pressure at home.

Making lifestyle adjustments might help lower your blood pressure. Lifestyle adjustments may be particularly important if you already had high blood pressure before getting COVID-19.

The American Heart Association recommends:

Psychological stress can activate your sympathetic nervous system. This can cause chemical changes that lead to the narrowing of your blood vessels and the raising of your blood pressure.

Examples of ways you can decrease stress include:

  • finding time for physical activity
  • spending more time doing activities you enjoy
  • listening to music you find relaxing
  • spending time in nature
  • reaching out to your family and friends

Learn more about ways to relieve stress.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to minimize your intake of substances that can contribute to high blood pressure, such as:

Potential risks

It’s important not to stop taking your prescription medications unless your doctor tells you it’s safe.

If you can’t lower your blood pressure with lifestyle changes alone, a doctor may recommend the following medications.

Diuretics

Diuretics lower your blood pressure by reducing fluid in your blood. They’re often first-line medications.

Common diuretics include:

  • thiazides
  • loop diuretics
  • potassium-sparing diuretics

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers block the action of adrenaline and other hormones to slow down your heart. Commonly prescribed beta-blockers include:

  • atenolol (Tenormin)
  • bisoprolol (Cardicor, Congescor)
  • carvedilol (Coreg)
  • labetalol (Trandate)

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors

Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors lower your blood pressure by blocking the enzyme angiotensin II, which narrows your blood vessels. Common ACE inhibitors include:

  • benazepril (Lotensin)
  • fosinopril (Monopril)
  • enalapril (Vasotec)
  • captopril (Capoten)

Other medications

Other medications include:

  • Calcium channel blockers: Calcium channel blockers block calcium from entering your blood vessels and heart.
  • Alpha-blockers: Alpha-blockers block the hormone norepinephrine, which constricts your blood vessels.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers: Angiotensin II receptor blockers bind against angiotensin II receptors to keep your blood vessels from narrowing.
  • Central alpha-2 receptor agonists: Central alpha-2 receptor agonists inhibit sympathetic nervous system activity.

Potential risks

Medications can have side effects, and some of these side effects can be serious. For example, ACE inhibitors can cause short-term worsening of kidney function. They’re also associated with birth irregularities. A doctor can advise on which medications are safe for you.

COVID-19 vaccination can reduce your chance of developing COVID-19 or developing severe disease.

Potential risks

Vaccinations can cause side effects, though serious side effects are extremely rare. High blood pressure seems to be one of the more common side effects of COVID-19 vaccination. It occurs in about 1% of people after receiving an mRNA vaccine.

However, this increase is temporary, and it may be connected to your anxiety over the vaccination rather than a result of the vaccination.

Here are some frequently asked questions people have about post-COVID-19 high blood pressure.

Is high blood pressure a symptom of COVID-19?

Some people have reported new high blood pressure as a potential complication of COVID-19. Also, people with preexisting high blood pressure may be more susceptible to developing COVID-19.

Can the Omicron variant cause high blood pressure?

Many different types of viral infections can cause high blood pressure, including the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

Is high blood pressure a symptom of long COVID-19?

Long-term increases in blood pressure seem to be a potential symptom of long COVID-19. Researchers have also associated low blood pressure (hypotension) with long COVID-19.

How long does high blood pressure last after COVID-19?

High blood pressure may last longer than 6 months after COVID-19. In a 2023 study, new-onset high blood pressure affected 20.6% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 10.85% of non-hospitalized people at a 6-month follow-up.

If you have high blood pressure following COVID-19, a doctor may recommend making lifestyle changes and regularly monitoring your blood pressure. They might also recommend medications if these remedies alone aren’t enough to lower your blood pressure.