Should You Keep Taking Your Blood Pressure Meds?

Hauke-Christian Dittrich/DPA via ZUMA

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Like millions of other middle-aged guys, I have high blood pressure. This is a problem:

Scientists are baffled by how the coronavirus attacks the body — killing many patients while barely affecting others. But some are tantalized by a clue: A disproportionate number of patients hospitalized by COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have high blood pressure….An April 8 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 72% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients 65 or older had hypertension.

Luckily for me, my hypertension is well controlled using a small dose of an ACE inhibitor called Zestril. So I should be in pretty—

Researchers agree that [hypertension] drugs affect the same pathways that the novel coronavirus takes to enter the lungs and heart. They differ on whether those drugs open the door to the virus or protect against it….The drugs are known as ACE inhibitors and ARBs, broad categories that include Vasotec, Valsartan, Irbesartan, as well as their generic versions. In a recent interview with a medical journal, Anthony Fauci — the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert — cited a report showing similarly high rates of hypertension among COVID-19 patients who died in Italy and suggested the medicines, rather than the underlying condition, may act as an accelerant for the virus.

Well, that’s just great. Option 1: Hypertension makes the coronavirus more deadly, so take your meds! Option 2: No, it’s the meds that make the coronavirus more deadly, so stop taking them right away!

I would like someone to figure this out very quickly. Thank you.

UPDATE: A couple of studies out of China suggest that hypertension really is at fault, not hypertension drugs. More here.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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