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Can Anxiety Cause High Bp

How To Reduce Anxiety And Hypertension

Can stress or anxiety cause high blood pressure?

Hypertension can be very serious, so start by talking to your doctor. Take their recommendations seriously and do everything that they tell you. Your doctor is the only one that can diagnose hypertension, as well as the cause of your hypertension, and give you more information on what you can do to control it.

After that, you need to engage in those activities and try to realize that your hypertension isn’t going to cause any symptoms. As long as you follow the doctor’s advice and keep your heart healthy, your look term outlook is still very good. If your doctor tells you that you do not have hypertension, you need to also realize that hypertension doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow process that occurs gradually and can be monitored with yearly doctor visits.

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The Cortisol Effect Within The Fight Or Flight Factor Can Cause Blood Pressure Spikes

The study of physiology expanded to understand whether the bodys reactions were in response to something. In the early 1900s, Walter Cannon coined the term fight or flight to promote the understanding that the body will produce the same adrenaline response in fight mode as in flight from a perceived threat. He only considered the one variable of adrenalin however and didnt recognize the physiological and other biochemical occurrences in place.

The term anxiety is often used interchangeably with stress and psychologists tended to stay away from using it, until mid-century. The term stress had some stigma from decades past where people whispered that someone had nervous symptoms.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and focus to provide a surge of energy to immediately react in a short-lived situation. For example, if a child was in the way of an oncoming vehicle, youd act quickly to grab the child because of the adrenaline boost. Your internal systems would return to normal state relatively quickly and you might be inclined to rest or nap to regain lost energy.

Cortisolis another hormone activated in stressful situations to provide immediate energy by triggering glucose production. It takes a few more minutes than adrenaline to respond but will produce the same powerful energy boost in survival mode. It tends to last longer in cases of recurring, or chronic, stress events such as long work hours or family dysfunctions.

Can Stress And Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure

Stress and anxiety often go hand in hand, and both can contribute to your heart health.

When youre stressed or anxious, your body releases hormones, such as cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine. These hormones trigger the bodys fight, flight, or freeze response your bodys natural response to dangerous situations.

This rush of hormones can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as the body attempts to keep blood flowing to other parts of your body. A 2021 study by the American Heart Association found a particularly strong connection between cortisol and dopamine levels and consequent increases in blood pressure.

Your thoughts and how you respond to situations can also heighten your bodys response and further increase your blood pressure, according to another 2021 study.

Many factors can contribute to high blood pressure, including:

  • genetics
  • age
  • race and ethnicity

Specific behavioral and lifestyle choices can also increase your chance of high blood pressure. These can include:

  • poor diet

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to severe complications, such as heart attack or stroke. But there are ways you can manage your stress levels and blood pressure.

Consider trying the following simple steps:

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How Does Stress Affect Your Blood Pressure

In a stressful situation, your body reacts by releasing a surge of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the blood. These hormones are responsible for the fight or flight response. They make your heart beat faster and your blood vessels narrower, raising your blood pressure.

This effect on your blood pressure only lasts a short time. Once the stressful situation is over your blood pressure returns to its usual level.

Anxiety And Low Blood Pressure

Why Stress Affects Blood Pressure  The Body to Be

Occasionally, anxiety works in the opposite way, causing a reduction in blood pressure.

This drop may occur because, during periods of intense anxiety, some people take very shallow breaths. The blood vessels then become wider, reducing blood pressure.

A 2011 study identified an association between the symptoms of anxiety and depression and a decrease in blood pressure, especially in people who have experienced a high level of anxiety symptoms over a prolonged period of decades.

This relationship also seems to work in both directions as low blood pressure, or hypotension, may sometimes cause anxiety and panic. Its symptoms can be similar to those of anxiety and include:

  • blurred vision

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What Is The Link Between Anxiety And High Blood Pressure

Anxiety and high blood pressure can sometimes go hand in hand. Anxiety may lead to high blood pressure, and high blood pressure may trigger feelings of anxiety.

Doctors characterize anxiety as feelings of intense worry or fear. It causes many physical symptoms, including increased heart rate and shallow breathing. Periods of anxiety may also temporarily increase blood pressure.

Meanwhile, having long-term high blood pressure which doctors refer to as hypertension can cause people to feel anxious about their health and future.

Keep reading to learn more about the link between anxiety and high blood pressure, as well as how to treat both conditions.

Anxiety causes the release of stress hormones in the body. These hormones trigger an increase in the heart rate and a narrowing of the blood vessels. Both of these changes cause blood pressure to rise, sometimes dramatically.

Doctors believe that anxiety is the reason behind white coat hypertension a phenomenon in which some individuals consistently have higher blood pressure readings at the doctors office than at home.

Anxiety-induced increases in blood pressure are temporary and will subside once the anxiety lessens. Regularly having high levels of anxiety, however, can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels, in the same way that long-term hypertension can.

  • alcohol use

Dysfunctional Coping Skills Can Lead To High Blood Pressure And Hypertension

Short periods of high blood pressure can be brought on sporadically, but people with anxiety disorders have the same likelihood to develop chronic high blood pressure as those without.

These spikes can also happen frequently enough to cause the blood vessel damage found in hypertension, which in turn places stress on the heart, kidneys, and brain.

In addition to periodic spikes, associated dysfunctional coping skills for anxiety are other contributors to increased high blood pressure in the long term. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, and overeating.

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Ways To Reduce Stress And Keep Blood Pressure Down

When it comes to preventing and treating high blood pressure, one often-overlooked strategy is managing stress. If you often find yourself tense and on-edge, try these seven ways to reduce stress.

  • Get enough sleep. Inadequate or poor-quality sleep can negatively affect your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and physical health.
  • Learn relaxation techniques. Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and yoga are powerful relaxation techniques and stress-busters.
  • Strengthen your social network. Connect with others by taking a class, joining an organization, or participating in a support group.
  • Hone your time-management skills. The more efficiently you can juggle work and family demands, the lower your stress level.
  • Try to resolve stressful situations if you can. Don’t let stressful situations fester. Hold family problem-solving sessions and use negotiation skills at home and at work.
  • Nurture yourself. Treat yourself to a massage. Truly savor an experience: for example, eat slowly and really focus on the taste and sensations of each bite. Take a walk or a nap, or listen to your favorite music.
  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your spouse, friends, and neighbors. If stress and anxiety persist, talk to your doctor.
  • Prospective Studies Of Anxiety Predicting Hypertension Risk

    Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure?

    Eight prospective studies investigated the association between the baseline anxiety status and incident hypertension with a total sample size of 80,146 and 2,394 hypertension case subjects. Characteristics of the studies are shown in . The pooled adjusted HR by REM was 1.55 , with strong heterogeneity detected . No publication bias was detected .

    Random effects meta-analysis of prospective studies of the association between anxiety and risk of hypertension .

    Note: Weights are from random effects analysis.

    Abbreviations: HR, hazards ratio CI, confidence interval.

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    Anxiety And High Blood Pressure

    Hi I was wondering how may people have high blood pressure with anxiety. When I’m relaxed my bp is normally 130/78. If I’m anxious it can easily go up to 180/90 it’s pretty scary! If I can relax it takes about 2 mins to go back to around 140/80.

    With my anxiety this worries me the most I’m on BP medication which keeps it check most of the time with some awful side effects.

    I’ve had all the tests done over the years which have all been good. My GP assures me my anxiety does this to me and it’s nothing to worry about. Unfortunately when all this started 5 years ago I googled high BP and over 180 is an hypertensive crisis and you should immediately go to the hospital.

    When I had my first panic attack 5 years ago which started this madness my BP was 230/110/150 it was the worst day of my life.

    Over the years my anxiety has sometimes just vanished and at one stage went for about 8 months. Lately it has come back. I can handle everything about it the pain/ palpitations dizziness feeling awful. Buts it the high blood pressure that worries me. I had a complete medical as recent as 3 weeks ago which was fine for my age 57.

    Do other people have Blood pressure issues with their anxiety?

    4 likes, 58 replies

  • 5 years ago


    Cristina I had to look up long qt syndrome it sounds pretty scary have you been diagnosed with that?

  • Can Anxiety Treatment Cause High Blood Pressure

    Yes. Some medications used for treatment of anxiety can lead to increased blood pressure when taken alone or in combination with other medications. These include:

    After prescribing medication for anxiety, your physician will monitor you closely to determine if there are significant changes in your blood pressure.

    Physicians take special care to avoid prescribing medications that can cause high blood pressure to those who already have a diagnosis of hypertension. This is why it is important to remind your doctor about any personal or family history of high blood pressure, so that they can select the safest medication for you.

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    Excessive Salt Raises Blood Pressure

    Too much sodium can cause water retention that puts increased pressure on your heart and blood vessels. People with high blood pressure and those at a high risk for developing hypertension, including adults over 50 and black men and women, should have no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily of salt.

    Even people with normal levels should eat salt in moderation. Stick to no more than 2,300 mg of sodium , per day.

    Most dietary sodium comes from processed foods. Rules of thumb are to choose foods with 5% or less of the daily value of sodium per serving and opt for fresh poultry, fish and lean meats, rather than canned, smoked or processed. Similarly, fresh or frozen vegetables are better than canned.

    A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that if people cut just 1/2 teaspoon of salt per day, it could help lower the number of new cases of heart disease per year by up to 120,000.

    Further, potassium found in foods like sweet potatoes, spinach, bananas, oranges, low-fat milk and halibut can counterbalance the pressure-increasing effects of sodium by helping to rid the body of excess sodium.

    Stress And High Blood Pressure

    Can High Blood Pressure Cause Anxiety?

    In a stressful situation, your body experiences a surge of hormones that temporarily increase your blood pressure, as your heart starts to beat faster and your blood vessels narrow. As the stress of that scenario subsides, the spike wears off and your blood pressure should return to normal.

    There is no proof that stress alone can cause long-term high blood pressure. However, some studies show a correlation because many people cope with stress through habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating unhealthy food, raising blood pressure and putting you at risk for heart attack and stroke. Chronic anxiety or depression can also impact your hearts health.

    However, there is no evidence that anxiety and depression directly cause high blood pressure. Instead, its likely that the same hormones that cause these feelings can also damage your arteries over time. Frequent spikes in your blood pressure can have similar impacts on the body as high blood pressure itself might.

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    Fortunately There Are More Than A Dozen Med

    As a psychologist who trains therapists around the country in new ways to combat anxiety, I have become interested in the relationship between anxiety and high blood pressure.

    Which causes which? And can treatments for one help with the other? Heres the latest that I’ve found in my search for answers.

    Does anxiety cause high blood pressure?

    The answer seems to be complex: No and yes.

    Sheldon Sheps, M.D., writes for the Mayo Clinic that, Anxiety doesn’t cause long-term high blood pressure . But episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic, temporary spikes in your blood pressure. If those temporary spikes occur frequently, such as every day, they can cause damage to your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys, as can chronic high blood pressure.” So even though anxiety may not cause chronic high blood pressure, it can cause similar health problems.

    Dr. Sheps adds a warning about a second way in which anxiety can damage cardiovascular health. Because of their sedating side-effects, physicians may prescribe anti-depressants to lower anxiety. Unfortunately, these drugs, known as serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors , can increase your blood pressure.

    Ultimately, if you are experiencing too much anxiety, it’s best to do something to reduce itboth for health reasons and because, frankly, anxiety feels unpleasant.

    Does high blood pressure cause anxiety?

    Probably not directly.

    Can treatments for one hurt the other?

    Anxiety And Blood Pressure: Whats The Link

    Anxiety is the bodys physical response to stress. Heavy breathing, feeling butterflies in your stomach, or getting a sudden burst of energy are all physical manifestations of anxiety. Feeling anxious at times is completely normal and can even be helpful in certain situations. We all have a fight or flight response, like if you saw a bear in the woods your body would generate the epinephrine needed to run quickly. When you experience these short episodes of anxiety, increased heart rate and a short-term blood pressure spike is both likely and helpful. Blood pressure varies moment to moment in all people, says Evan Jacobs, MD, primary care physician at Conviva Care Center in Parkland, Florida. Stressors such as pain, discomfort, or anxiety will elevate blood pressure temporarily and this is a normal reaction.

    Long-term high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, isnt just the temporary result of a stressful situationits when blood pressure is consistently too high, according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension is a common health condition, nearly half of American adults have it. When patients have uncontrolled elevated blood pressure, it may make patients feel anxious. When blood pressure is controlled with medication, patients often feel calmer and less jittery.

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