People with high blood pressure (hypertension) have a weaker immune system, which puts them at risk for infections, including COVID-19. The good news is that you can take simple but effective steps to manage your hypertension and boost your immune system.
Take the anti-hypertension medications as instructed by your doctor. Complying with your prescribed treatment promotes optimal blood pressure control and lowers the risk of hypertension complications such as heart attack, kidney disease and stroke.
Eat a low-salt, low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals that help lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system. These include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, etc.), broccoli, papaya, garlic and red bell peppers.
Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Aside from lowering blood pressure, exercise results in positive changes in antibodies and white blood cells, as well as slows down the release of stress hormones that can weaken your immune system.
Keep your weight healthy. Being overweight contributes to hypertension, weakens your immune response against bacterial and viral infections, and diminishes responsiveness to some vaccinations.
Drink alcohol moderately. Excessive alcohol intake increases blood pressure, and can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections.
Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to hypertension. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick. Inadequate sleep can also hamper recovery from illnesses.
Don’t smoke. Aside from raising blood pressure, smoking also makes you more susceptible to infections such as pneumonia and influenza. Smokers usually suffer more severe and longer-lasting illnesses. They also have lower levels of protective antioxidants such as vitamin C.
Get vaccinated. Immunization helps your immune system produce specific antibodies to protect you against bacteria and viruses. Talk to your doctor about the right vaccines for you.
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https://symptoms.webmd.com/cold-flu-map/keep-immune-system-healthy. Accessed 22 April 2020
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system#citrus. Accessed 22 April 2020
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm. Accessed 22 April 2020
https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/obesity-and-the-immune-system/. Accessed 22 April 2020
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/6-surprising-ways-alcohol-affects-health-not-just-liver/. Accessed 22 April 2020
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757. Accessed 22 April 2020
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/sleep-deprivation/faq-20057959. Accessed 22 April 2020
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https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/smoking-effects-on-your-body. Accessed 22 April 2020
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