July 22, 2020

Mayo Clinic COVID-19 research news update

By Susan Murphy

By: Dana Sparks

COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children

Though children of all ages can become sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), most kids who are infected typically don't become as sick as adults do. Some children who have an active infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 might not show any signs or symptoms at all.

Still, you may have heard about a serious inflammatory syndrome in children, including some teenagers, that appears to be linked to COVID-19. It's called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). This syndrome is rare, and most children who have it eventually get better with medical care. But some kids rapidly get worse, to the point where their lives are at risk.

Much remains to be learned about this new and emerging inflammatory syndrome, and the cause is not known yet. But if your child shows any signs or symptoms, get help fast. Here's what you need to know.

What is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children?

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a serious condition in which some parts of the body — such as the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes — become inflamed. Inflammation typically includes swelling, often with redness and pain.

Many, but not all, children with MIS-C test negative for a current infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Yet evidence indicates that many of these children were infected with the COVID-19 virus in the past, as shown by positive antibody test results.

COVID-19 and high blood pressure: Am I at risk?

I have high blood pressure. What should I do to lower my risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19?

Answer: High blood pressure is a serious condition. Left untreated, it can lead to many other health issues. Health risks linked to high blood pressure include heart diseasestroke and dementia.

Some studies suggest that people with high blood pressure are more at risk of getting seriously ill with and dying of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But some experts say that the people with high blood pressure who've gotten the sickest with COVID-19 were older and had other medical conditions, too. Diabetes, obesity and serious heart issues are examples. Research into the link between high blood pressure and COVID-19 is ongoing. However, people with untreated high blood pressure seem to be more at risk of complications from COVID-19 than those whose high blood pressure is managed with medication.

If you have high blood pressure, the most important step you can take is to manage it. Follow the treatment plan you've created with your doctor. Protecting yourself against the serious health issues that high blood pressure can cause is especially important with COVID-19.

Medication and lifestyle changes offer a powerful combination for preventing or reducing the health issues high blood pressure can cause. Read more.

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