Hypertensive patients should continue taking their medication even if they become infected with coronavirus, medical professionals have said.
The American Heart Association (AHA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), and the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), recommended this while answering questions about COVID-19 on Twitter.
The question was asked to settle the concerns of taking hypertension medications when infected with COVID-19.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are two types of medications used primarily to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart disease.
Doctors also prescribe these medicines for people who have protein in their urine, a common problem in people with diabetes.
“At this time, the American Heart Association (AHA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), and the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) strongly recommend that people taking these medications should continue to do so, even if they become infected,” it said.
Although, it further explained that researchers doing animal studies on a different coronavirus (the SARS coronavirus from the early 2000s) found that certain sites on lung cells called ACE-2 receptors appeared to help the SARS virus enter the lungs and cause pneumonia.
ACE inhibitor and ARB drugs raised ACE-2 receptor levels in the animals.
It said human studies have not confirmed the findings in animal studies.
“Some studies suggest that ACE inhibitors and ARBs may reduce lung injury in people with other viral pneumonias.”
The same might be true of pneumonia caused by the COVID-19 virus.
It said stopping the ACE inhibitor or ARB could actually put the user at greater risk of complications from the infection since it’s likely that the blood pressure will rise and heart problems would get worse.
“The bottom line, The AHA, ACC, and HFSA strongly recommend continuing to take ACE inhibitor or ARB medications, even if you get sick with COVID-19.”