Last year was a tough one. Americans grappled with a global pandemic, the loss of loved ones, lockdowns that splintered social networks, stress, unemployment and depression.
It is probably no surprise that the nation’s blood pressure shot up.
On Monday, scientists reported that blood pressure measurements of nearly a half-million adults showed a significant rise last year, compared with the previous year.
These measurements describe the pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries. Over time, increased pressure can damage the heart, the brain, blood vessels, kidneys and eyes. Sexual function can also be affected.
“These are very important data that are not surprising, but are shocking,” said Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, president of the American Heart Association, who was not involved in the study.
“Even small changes in average blood pressure in the population,” he added, “can have a huge impact on the number of strokes, heart failure events and heart attacks that we’re likely to be seeing in the coming months.”