At the beginning of the Corona epidemic, which affected our lives, information was published that the infection was much more severe, especially in those with high blood pressure, heart and diabetes, and this caused a great panic in people with these diseases. Later, besides the elderly, people with chronic diseases were prohibited from going out on the street. Well, how true is this thought, let’s discuss it now.
Two factors played a role in the thought that chronic diseases pose a risk in the corona epidemic. The first is the relatively high incidence of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes in those with Corona infection. Secondly, cases such as rhythm disturbance, deterioration in the heart muscle, and sudden cardiac arrest were observed more frequently in Covid-19 patients who had a severe course and died. Of course, the information obtained at the beginning of the epidemic is based on the observations of physicians rather than any scientific research. It was not possible to control this information as the epidemic spread rapidly. As time passes, the scientific quality of the studies increases and more accurate information is obtained.
Many studies have shown that flu-related heart diseases increase during seasonal flu epidemics. In addition, people with heart disease are more likely to have the flu. After all, Covid-19 is also an upper respiratory tract infection virus. For this reason, it is an expected result that this infection will progress more severely in patients with heart disease. However, the Corona virus, that is, the Covid-19 virus, unlike other flu viruses, enters the cells through an enzyme we call ACE2. It has been reported in many studies that this enzyme is found in excess in heart, intestine, kidney and lung cells. It is suggested that the Covid-19 virus enters the cells through this enzyme and causes a more severe disease picture than seasonal flu viruses.
In a scientific study in which cases from America, Europe and Asia were compiled, the relationship between Corona infection and heart diseases was investigated. In this study, which included 8900 patients, the clinical conditions with severe corona infection were listed as follows: advanced age (over 65), coronary heart disease, heart failure, rhythm disorders, chronic lung diseases and current smoking. One of the findings obtained in this study is that hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol were not identified as risk factors alone in deaths due to Covid-19. However, this information could not be fully verified because the data sent from hospitals were insufficient and was not published in the main study.
Returning to our topic again, the Corona epidemic started suddenly and spread rapidly in all countries. The medical world was also caught unprepared for this epidemic and there was a great surprise in the first days. Getting over this astonishment quickly, healthcare professionals, especially physicians, started to work devotedly in patient follow-up and treatment. In addition, many studies are carried out on the recognition of Corona disease, its relationship with chronic diseases, and treatment, and new studies are constantly published. These studies sometimes yield contradictory results. In my opinion, hypertension alone does not pose a risk for the worsening of Covid-19 infections. However, hypertension is the most important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. When these diseases cause Corona infection, the risk increases. The information in the study I mentioned above partially confirms this view. Of course, this view needs to be supported by other studies. I think we will reach more reliable information in time.
As a result, patients with hypertension do not need to be afraid and anxious. If cardiovascular disease has not occurred, there is no proven information about the severe course of Corona infection. In addition, there is no such thing as a severe course of Corona in every heart patient, but the risk is high. The immune system plays an important role in this epidemic and there are many factors that affect this system. For this reason, it is very important for both hypertension and heart patients to use the drugs recommended by the doctor and to strictly comply with the recommended measures regarding the epidemic.