(WHTM) — Researchers are continuing to learn more about the long term effects of COVID-19 and now a new study shows the virus has been associated with a risk for developing hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure.

“This study provides another important piece of evidence detailing the impact of COVID-19 on cardiometabolic health within the United States, particularly, obviously blood pressure increases,” Dr. Luke Laffin, a cardiologist with the Cleveland Clinic who was not part of the study said.

According to the study, at a six-month follow-up hypertension was seen in about 20% of hospitalized patients with COVID and nearly 11% of non-hospitalized patients with COVID.

Researchers also found those hospitalized with the virus were twice as likely to develop hypertension than those who contracted influenza.

In addition, hypertension was more common among older adults, males, and individuals with pre-existing health issues, and those treated with certain medications.

Laffin says it’s unclear why there is a link between COVID and hypertension. But there are some possible theories.

“The other question is what happens after a COVID-19 infection? Are people more sedentary? Are they gaining weight because they’re not able to exercise? We don’t know that but you know that’s a possibility as well,” Laffin said.

He says symptoms of hypertension aren’t always obvious. That’s why it’s important to monitor your blood pressure to keep it at a healthy level.