Anxiety Or Blood Pressure Changes
When symptoms occur, it can be difficult to distinguish between anxiety and changes in blood pressure.
Individuals should keep in mind that hypertension does not typically cause symptoms unless it is exceptionally high. If this is the case, emergency treatment is necessary.
Low blood pressure is more likely to cause symptoms, and these are often quite similar to the symptoms of anxiety.
People who are experiencing severe or recurrent symptoms should see their doctor. A doctor will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of the symptoms and can prescribe treatments for both anxiety and hypertension, if necessary.
There are several treatment options for anxiety. Most people require a combination of treatments.
Can Anxiety Cause Hypertension
Our bodies are made to withstand certain amounts of stress. But, when your blood pressure is high all the timelike in hypertensionpoor blood flow will cause organ damage over the years. This can lead to things like kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, and even death. Can anxiety cause hypertension? Well, not exactly.
What Four Things Happen Right Before A Heart Attack
Here are 4 signs of heart attack to be on the lookout for:
- #1: Chest Pain, Pressure, Squeezing, and Fullness.
- #2: Arm, Back, Neck, Jaw, or Stomach Pain or Discomfort.
- #3: Shortness of Breath, Nausea, and Lightheadedness.
- #4: Breaking Out in a Cold Sweat.
- Heart Attack Symptoms: Women vs Men.
- What Next?
- Next Steps.
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How Do You Treat Anxiety
There are many ways of dealing with panic attacks and anxiety. Some of them involve drugs that may treat the symptoms of the anxiety but do not really anything to get to the root of the problem. This is again very prominent in our modern society: treating symptoms with expensive medication without caring about the root cause.
I mentioned before that symptoms like feeling overheated or cold, rapid heartbeat , excessive perspiration, chest pain, rapid breathing, numbness in the hands, trembling, weakness, dizziness etc. are able to cause high blood pressure. One might assume then that treating these symptoms is exactly what needs to be done.
This is where drugs come in handy as they do exactly that. They get rid of the symptoms and let you think youre cured. However, theyre denying the underlying cause for those symptoms anxiety itself.
Unfortunately, there is no drug out there that is able to treat the root cause of anxiety, but there are still some very efficient ways of fighting the true enemy here. I mentioned the PanicMiracle program that uses a holistic approach to treating anxiety. That is something worth considering if youre looking to get rid of your anxiety completely.
Making Changes If You Have Anxiety Or Depression
If your high blood pressure is co-occurring with a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety, it can be even tougher to find the energy and motivation to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Just thinking about exercising or preparing a healthy meal, for example, can seem overwhelming. But by focusing all your efforts on one tiny change at a time, youll find that youre capable of more than you realized.
Take the first step. It could be as simple as going for a walk or downloading a meditation app or buying some nicotine patches. It can take time for lifestyle changes to register as a reduction in blood pressurebut sometimes they can improve your mood much sooner. Taking that first step is always the hardest.
Focus on small steps. Its easy to get overwhelmed by daily life when youre battling depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder. By taking small but positive steps each day, though, youll find that your energy and outlook will gradually start to improve. Once you feel happier and more positive, youll find it easier to forge ahead with lifestyle changes and see the results in both your blood pressure readings and your overall outlook and wellbeing.
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The Effect Of Anxiety On The Heart
When someone is anxious, their body reacts in ways that can put an extra strain on their heart. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be especially damaging among individuals with existing cardiac disease.
Anxiety may have an association with the following heart disorders and cardiac risk factors:
- Rapid heart rate In serious cases, can interfere with normal heart function and increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
- Increased blood pressure If chronic, can lead to coronary disease, weakening of the heart muscle, and heart failure.
- May result in higher incidence of death after an acute heart attack.
Anxiety Disorders: What You Need To Know
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions which are similarly defined by intense negative feelings of anxiety, unease or panic.
There are subtypes of anxiety disorder, each of which can have overlapping symptoms panic disorder, for instance, may include milder anxiety, while mild anxiety may occasionally include a sense of severe panic.
Restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, feeling regularly on edge or wound-up, increases in blood pressure, experiencing difficulty concentrating, patterns of irritability and uncontrollable worry are all symptoms.
And those symptoms should be felt most days for at least six months for a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder .
Anxietys true nature isnt fully understood, but we do know that this mood disorder is caused by imbalances of brain chemicals.
There is no cure for anxiety, but we do have ways of treating it, which well get to shortly.
But lets talk about one symptom in more depth: blood pressure increases.
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How Does Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure
Anxiety increases heart rate and constricts blood vessels. It doesnt permanently change your body or cause high blood pressure rather it causes spikes in blood pressure that last until anxiety dispels. Thus, people with high anxiety often have high blood pressure, but this blood pressure returns to its normal baseline range once people get rid of anxiety. Blood pressure changes all throughout the day depending on how we feel and what were doing. Ive written a whole post about anxiety causing high blood pressure, you can find it here.
Reducing Your Salt Intake
The American Heart Association recommends no more than a teaspoon of salt a day for adults. That may sound alarmingly small, but there are many painless ways to reduce your sodium intake.
Reduce canned and processed foods. Much of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods like soups, convenience meals, and fast food.
Cook more meals at home. Preparing your own meals gives you more control over your sodium intake. Use fresh ingredients whenever possible and cook without salt.
Use spices as alternatives to salt. Try fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or chives, or dried spices such as allspice, bay leaves, or cumin to flavor your meal without sodium.
Substitute reduced sodium versions. Choose your condiments and packaged foods carefully, looking for foods labeled sodium free, low sodium, or unsalted.
See Heart-Healthy Diet Tips to learn more.
The effects on your blood pressure
- Adopting the DASH diet, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and reducing your consumption of unhealthy fats can lower your blood pressure by about 11 mm Hg.
- Cutting back on sodium by about 1,000 mg per day can reduce your blood pressure by 5 to 6 mm Hg.
- Increasing your potassium intake from food to 3,500-5,000 mg can knock 4 to 5 mm Hg off your reading.
- Limiting your alcohol intake to two drinks per day if youre male, or one drink per day if youre female can lower your reading by about 4 mm Hg.
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Anxiety Causes High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is not a constant. It changes all throughout the day, going from high to low depending on what you’re doing, what you’ve eaten, how you’re feeling, and so on. At any moment you could go through some type of blood pressure fluctuation that causes a high reading, and that reading says nothing about your overall health or wellness.
What is high blood pressure?
Although there are some outside factors that play a role, generally doctors look at blood pressure using the following chart:
- Low Blood Pressure: < 90/60
- Normal Blood Pressure: 90/60 to 140/90
- High Blood Pressure: 140/90 and Up
The first number refers to the systolic pressure. That is the pressure on your arteries when your heart contracts . The diastolic is the pressure on your arteries when your heart is at rest. Systolic tends to jump up and down throughout the day, while diastolic should stay close to constant .
Although there are risks involved with low blood pressure, most doctors pay especially close attention to high blood pressure. High blood pressure readings indicate that something could be wrong with your cardiovascular system. Because of the risks associated with high blood pressure, it is important to see a doctor. But if other factors have been ruled out, it is possible that anxiety may be to blame.
Are There Differences Among Anxiety Medications
Anxiety medications in the same drug class work in a similar way and there are similarities between classes of anxiety medications.
- The SSRIs affect brain serotonin levels. They are the first-line for treating most types of anxiety.
- Other antidepressants, including the tricyclics and the monoamine oxidase inhibitors , that also act on brain serotonin and norepinephrine levels have more limited use because of their side effects and drug interactions.
The anxiolytic drugs, which specifically target these disorders, work in different ways and have specific treatment applications.
- Benzodiazepines act on the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid .
- Buspirone enhances the activity of serotonin.
- The antihistamine hydroxyzine , has a sedative effect by blocking certain receptors in the brain.
Medications normally used to treat high blood pressure also have specific off-label uses for treating panic disorders.
- The beta-blockers propranolol and atenolol have become a popular remedies for performance anxiety, also known as stage fright. They may also have some use in PTSD.
- The alpha-blocker prazosin eases nightmares from PTSD.
- Other alpha-blockers, such as clonidine and guanfacine , may also be useful for treating PTSD.
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The Role Of Genes In Anxiety Disorder
Just like a major heart attack, a burn is a horrible thing, says McCann. About 33% of patients who have really severe burns develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Which makes us wonder about the 66% who do not get PTSD. We think genes are a huge part of it. Were currently researching whether this same genetic vulnerability holds true for cardiac disease.
Johns Hopkins Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center
The Johns Hopkins Womens Cardiovascular Health Center provides education, comprehensive treatment and diagnostic services to prevent and manage heart disease in women.
What Are Anxiety Medications And How Do They Work
Anxiety is a normal and useful response to potentially stressful or dangerous situations. It increases our awareness of what’s going on around us. For most people, anxiety is short-lived and normally goes away once the situation has passed. This is not the case for an estimated 40 million adults in the United States who have some type of anxiety disorder and experience ongoing and unwarranted psychological distress. That distress may also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as muscletension, headaches, or chest pain.
Anxiety medications include multiple types of drugs that are used to treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders. The three most commonly prescribed types of anxiety medication are
- anti-anxiety medications , and
Antidepressants and anxiolytic medications work primarily by affecting the balance of certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. Beta-blockers and other types of drugs are used to address the physical symptoms that may accompany an anxiety attack. First-generation antihistamines are also used to help with anxiety symptoms because they have a sedating effect.
Anxiety disorders are associated with certain chemical imbalances in the brain involving neurotransmitters such as
- norepinephrine, and
- gamma aminobutyric acid or GABA.
These chemicals are associated with an individual’s sense of well-being or with the ability to relax.
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Can Anxiety Cause Extreme High Bloodpressure
Anxiety doesnt cause long-term high blood pressure
High pressure in the arteries .
). 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.
Treating Anxiety: Medication And Therapy
There are several approved treatments for anxiety that you should consider, and in many cases it will be recommended that you employ more than one for the most effective anxiety management.
Lets start with prescription medications, which are generally considered the go-to solution these days. Typically, the primary medication for treating anxiety disorders are actually antidepressants.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs are the most often prescribed, but other medications like SNRIs will sometimes be employed if SSRIs are ineffective.
Theres also therapy, which is frequently recommended as a parallel treatment with medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps anxiety disorder sufferers to recognize their disordered thought patterns, which may otherwise let anxiety control your life.
CBT can create coping strategies to mitigate future anxiety or panic attacks. For more, check out our guide, What Is Psychotherapy & How Does It Work?.
Healthcare providers may also ask you to address diet, regular exercise and even substance abuse or alcohol intake issues, which may be making your anxiety worse addressing those issues could alleviate some anxiety symptoms, including blood pressure issues.
The link between anxiety and cardiovascular diseases may not be perfect, but its more than enough to tell us that anxiety isnt good for your health, long or short term.
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What Can You Do About High Blood Pressure
Seeking medical help is never a bad decision. When you feel something wrong changed in your body or mood, such as unusual shortness of breath, decreased/increased appetite, and anxiety, you should consult your doctor. Knowing the cause of symptoms will help you address your health concerns. Also, having your blood pressure checked every now and then will help you monitor your blood pressure, put you at ease and reduce your anxiety. Measuring your blood pressure in the comfort of your home has several advantages.
Last but not least, never underestimate the healing effect of properly designed diet. Reducing sugar , starch, margarines and vegetable oils to the minimum will surely give you better blood pressure measurements. Eat only real food, and dont be afraid of salt as long as it is unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt with all minerals included, nothing removed. Natural fats like butter, lard, avocados, coconut oil or olive oil will keep your arteries flexible and the amount of plaque to the minimum. Natural fats will protect your heart in the very best way.