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(WJW) – A study published Monday in Circulation looks at significant increases in blood pressure readings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study looked at data from more than 450-thousand people from across the U.S.

The data came from people who took part in an employer-sponsored wellness program from Quest Diagnostics.

Researchers from Quest Diagnostics and Cleveland Clinic looked at the data, showing a “significant increase” in blood pressure from April through December of 2020.

The data was compared to the same time period in 2019.

According to a press release, increases were seen across all age groups in both men and women.

Mean increases ranged from 1.10 to 2.50 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure and 0.14 to .53 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure.

“We know that in addition to poor diet, inactivity and lack of sleep, other lifestyle factors, such as stress increase blood pressure, said Luke Laffin, M.D.

Dr. Laffin was the author of the study and is the co-director of the Center for Blood Pressure Disorders in the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

 “While weight gain was not the reason seen here for blood pressure increases, other possible reasons could be higher alcohol consumption, less physical activity, emotional stress and reduced medication adherence,” said Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., study author and chair of Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences, and co-section head of Preventive Cardiology in the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure or force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. Your blood pressure reading has two numbers. The top number is the systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure when your heart beats, while the bottom number measures the pressure between beats. Blood pressure numbers of less than 120 over 80 mm Hg are considered normal. Hypertension is when blood pressure is consistently high, ranging from 130 over 80 or higher.