Blood Pressure Changes And Anxiety
Anxiety is the activation of your fight or flight system a system designed to keep you safe from harm when no danger is present. The fight or flight system causes a number of physical changes that would help you respond to a predator or threat if one was present, but can be distressing when they occur without that danger.
Different types of anxiety can affect your blood pressure in different ways. To understand how anxiety can impact blood pressure, first you must gain a basic understanding of blood pressure and how it fluctuates.
Finally, it is always important to remember that blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day due to exertion, diet, hydration, and more. Blood pressure is not constant even if you do not have any anxiety. So “high blood pressure” may not be high blood pressure at all, and may instead be a reading during one of these fluctuations.
Responding To Low Blood Pressure
Everyones blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. At any moment, it may be lower or higher than recommended based on what a person has eaten, how much water they have ingested, whether they are sitting or standing, or even how they cross their legs.
That low or high blood pressure alone is usually not a concern unless a person has a heart problem, as the body is expected to go through these different fluctuations.
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Will Chronic Anxiety Lead To Hypertension Development
As explained by the American Heart Association, chronic anxiety doesn’t make you develop hypertension. However, the coping mechanisms used to handle these mental health issues CAN increase your risk of hypertension.
For instance, many people who experience chronic anxiety may:
- Smoke Cigarettes
- Binge-Watch Television
Additionally, some medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , can cause an increase in blood pressure. Therefore, taking these medications long-term might pose some problems for certain people.
When blood pressure spikes become too frequent, it might start to harm blood vessels and organs. Please speak to your physician if you show signs of hypertension to discuss other ways to treat anxiety.
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Hypertension Fears Causing Anxiety
It’s also important to note that fear of hypertension can also lead to the development of an anxiety disorder and the overall fear of anxiety. Those who check their blood pressure regularly are extremely prone to this. Blood pressure changes throughout the day, and those who are always checking their blood pressure are bound to find several time periods where their blood pressure is high.
Similarly, those that have high blood pressure already may be more prone to panic attacks, because they have anxiety that their blood pressure might cause them health problems. Any change in the way their heart feels and their anxiety spikes dramatically, possibly leading to further high blood pressure and severe anxiety.
In both of these cases, hypertension is causing anxiety, but more in a secondary manner. Hypertension itself isn’t causing anxiety, but worries about hypertension are.
How Does High Blood Pressure Affect You
But if you have truly high blood pressure, it can cause several complications on the vital parts of body and also more serious health problems if not addressed as soon as possible. One of the effects is narrowed and damaged arteries. Arteries are strong and elastic and their inner lining is smooth to keep the blood freely flowing and supplying oxygen and nutrients to different organs of the body. The abnormal increase in the pressure of blood through these arteries can cause damaged cells in the inner linings. It will cause arteriosclerosis or the thickening of artery walls, or atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries.
Untreated high blood pressure may also cause damage to the heart , brain , and kidneys .
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How To Reduce Anxiety And Hypertension
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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How To Manage It
When you have anxiety, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. This causes your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to constrict. This can lead to an increase in blood pressure. If you have anxiety and high blood pressure, its important to manage both conditions.
There are a few things you can do to manage anxiety and blood pressure:
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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.
High Blood Pressure: Symptoms Treatments And Causes
If youve been told that you have high blood pressure, youre not alone. Far from it, actually.
Almost 1 in 4 Canadian adults are affected by high blood pressure , and almost half of them dont have it well controlled.
With high blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. When it goes undiagnosed and/or untreated, high blood pressure can dramatically increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and vision problems by damaging blood vessels.
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How To Take Care Of Your Heart
Heart health app Cardi.Health shares that heart disease resulting from high blood pressure and cholesterol is the number one cause of death in the US. Hypertension is an intense health condition affecting millions worldwide. With this in mind, it is crucial to control high blood pressure.
Cardi.Health helps people keep their blood pressure readings at healthy levels by tailoring nutrition and activity plans. The cardiovascular health app helps people stay on top of their conditions by monitoring and providing detailed insights and action plans based on the changes in their condition.
The app generates heart health reports and prevents stroke and heart attack through diet and activity plans that manage High blood pressure and cholesterol levels.Cardi.Health provides a gateway to a healthy lifestyle to help manage diseases.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies, researchers concluded that anxiety and high blood pressure can feed off each other. A persons thinking patterns can trigger feelings of anxiety that can gradually expose them to severe symptoms of anxiety and hypertension.
What Happens In Your Body When You Get Stressed
Stress hormones have a big role to play.
When youre experiencing physical or emotional stress, hormones are released that increase your blood sugar. Cortisol and adrenaline are other primary hormones involved.
This is a perfectly natural response. For example, if youre being chased by a barking dog or youre in a dangerous situation, you need these hormones to prepare your body for a fight or flight situation.
But when youre stressed, your body releases these hormones, even if there isnt a major physical threat involved.
The result? Higher blood pressure, increased heart rate and a rise in blood sugar.
The problem becomes more complicated.
If youre consistently under stress, your hormones and sugar will continue to surge.
Over time, this can put you at risk for:
This is one reason why its so important to treat your stress and anxiety.
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Can White Coat Hypertension Be Long
Whitecoat hypertension is a condition among people where they have higher blood pressure at the doctors office than at home. And its usually more anxiety-related.
Whitecoat hypertension is more common among women than in men, and chances of occurrence increase with age. its not a serious issue though. However, only those with heart disease or diabetes may need medication.
Apart from the office reading, doctors always suggest at-home blood pressure reading.
The difference in both readings can affect your doctors treatment.
Can Deep Breathing Lower Blood Pressure
Slow, deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which decreases the heart rate and dilates blood vessels, reducing your overall blood pressure. As your breathing becomes slower, your brain associates it with a state of relaxation, which causes your body to slow down other functions like digestion.
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How Does Anxiety Affect Blood Pressure
As weve covered, high levels of stress and anxiety can increase blood pressure in the short term. However, its important to note that this is only in certain people and in some circumstances.
If you have a healthy body weight, normal blood pressure, and eat a healthy diet, stress and anxiety cant raise your long-term blood pressure. This is why anxiety is also known as the worried well syndrome.
With constant worries, however, there are several cardiovascular effects that you can experience. It can relevant the blood pressure in the short term and also affect the muscles of the heart among other body systems.
How To Reduce Anxiety
First, lets be clear: If youre experiencing anxiety, we want to know about it. We care about much more than your physical health. We know that mental health is an important part of your overall well-being.
We care about our patients, and we are always in your corner, ready to help you.
Following are some useful tips for reducing anxiety:
- Any type of physical activity, even if its just a quick walk around the block during your lunch break.
- Reducing or eliminating your alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Getting enough sleep
If your anxiety continues for more than two weeks or if youre finding it difficult to complete everyday activities, you should consider talking to a counselor or psychologist who can provide help and direction. We can provide a referral if needed.
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How Does It Impact Your Life
Anxiety and blood pressure can be a vicious cycle. When you have anxiety, your blood pressure goes up. This can lead to more anxiety and cause your blood pressure to spike even higher. Over time, this can take a toll on your body and your overall health. Some common negative consequences that this can have include:
- High blood pressure can damage your heart and lead to heart disease.
- It can also damage your arteries, which can lead to stroke or other problems.
- Anxiety can make it hard to concentrate, which can impact your work or school performance.
- It can also affect your sleep, which can lead to fatigue and other problems.
These consequences can have a significant impact on your life. If you are struggling with anxiety and blood pressure, it is important to seek help. There are many resources available that can help you manage your anxiety and lower your blood pressure. You just need to reach out and ask for help.
It might be difficult to talk about your anxiety, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many people struggle with anxiety and blood pressure. There are many resources available to help you manage both conditions. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Taking Care Of Yourself When Stressed
When were stressed, we typically dont take good care of ourselves.
Theres a reason they call it comfort food. For most people, chocolate or fast food seems to be the first thing they reach for when were stressed.
Stress also makes it tempting to put off your regular exercise routine in favor of the couch and a Netflix binge.
These can all become deciding factors in a spike in blood sugar.
Need a solution? Get moving when youre stressed. Dont feel like you have to complete an extensive cardio routine. Often something as simple as a walk around the block can make a difference in your mood.
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How Do You Treat It
Since someone dealing with stress-related high blood pressure may also have other causes like dietary issues, obesity, and alcohol abuse, any treatment would be catered to the individual. Eating healthier, exercising more, and reducing alcohol can help with your overall health as well reducing problems with blood pressure, but there are also medications available.
Thiazide diuretics , angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers , and calcium channel blockers help to relax blood vessels and slow your heart beat. Alpha blockers, alpha beta blockers, and beta blockers can also help to open your blood vessels and slow your heartbeat.
So, stress can lead to blood pressure, but there are options available for treatment. If youre stressing out and think you have blood pressure problems, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care today to get help.
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What Is White Coat Syndrome
One interesting phenomenon related to anxiety and hypertension is white coat syndrome or white coat hypertension. This occurs in 15% to 30% of patients who have a rise in their blood pressure due to nerves or anxiety when they are in a clinical setting, such as a doctors or dentists office . Its a concern for patients because they may be prescribed unnecessary medication that can have detrimental side effects. What makes it even trickier is that white coat syndrome can sometimes be an early warning sign for actual hypertension.
Luckily, its unlikely that a doctor will prescribe medication or treatment based on one high blood pressure reading. If you or your doctor believe you may be experiencing white coat syndrome, its likely youll be asked to monitor your blood pressure readings at home or wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for a few days to get a more accurate depiction of your blood pressure. Blood pressure goals are under 135/85.
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How Can You Lower Stress Anxiety And Blood Pressure
We all have to deal with a certain amount of stress and anxiety, and the way we do so impacts our health.
It really can come down to how someone perceives stress, Dr. Laffin says. Two people can be in the exact same situation, but it can be much more stressful to one than the other. Some people just deal better with stress and have healthier coping strategies or support systems.
He shares some of the ways you can lower your stress levels and get a handle on your anxiety, which can, in turn, lower your blood pressure.
You Shouldnt Ignore White Coat Hypertension
Some people experience white coat hypertension, when blood pressure is elevated in the doctors office but not in other settings. These patients need to monitor their blood pressure at home or wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor that takes your blood pressure every 30 minutes for 24 hours.
While white coat hypertension was formerly considered simple nervousness, recent research suggests otherwise.
A study published in the journal Hypertension found that people with white coat hypertension are at a significantly greater risk for developing sustained high blood pressure than people who have normal blood pressure. One possible explanation is that people with white coat hypertension have a harder time managing stress and anxiety.
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