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 temporary blood pressure spike is both likely and helpful.
Blood pressure varies moment to moment in all people, says Evan Jacobs, MD, a 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.
But 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, patients feel anxious. When the blood pressure is controlled with medication, patients often feel calmer and less jittery.
How High Can Anxiety Raise Your Heart Rate
Afib or Panic Attack? A single panic attack can last a few minutes or an hour. A type of arrhythmia called supraventricular tachycardia can make your heart beat as much as 150 to 250 times a minute. This is the heart arrhythmia most likely to be mistaken for a panic attack.
Anxiety Causes Low Blood Pressure
What you may not know is that some forms of anxiety can cause low blood pressure as well. During periods of anxiety attacks, a person may start to hyperventilate. Hyperventilation occurs when the body gets too much oxygen through either fast breathing or taking breaths that are too deep.
Hyperventilation is known to cause drops in blood pressure that can lead to feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness. So while high blood pressure is more common during anxiety, low blood pressure may occur as well.
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Making The Exercise Habit Stick
Despite our best intentions, many of us struggle ditching our sedentary lifestyle. But there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and more fun.
Start small and build momentum. If exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week sounds overwhelming, set a smaller goal and gradually build up as you gain self-confidence and momentum.
Reward yourself. Once it becomes a regular habit, exercise will reward you with more energy, better sleep, a greater sense of well-being, and improved cardiovascular health. When youre starting out, though, give yourself a simple reward for successfully completing a workout, such as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.
Choose activities you enjoy. Youre more likely to stick with a workout you find pleasurable. If you hate running but like yoga or dancing, for example, dont force yourself onto the treadmill every day. Pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.
See How to Start Exercising and Stick to It to learn more.
The effects on your blood pressure
- 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking, for five days of the week can reduce your reading by 4 to 11 mm Hg.
How Anxiety Causes Low Blood Pressure
Because high blood pressure is associated with stress, most people assume that low blood pressure must be a symptom of something else – something more dangerous. But low blood pressure is also a fairly common anxiety symptom, especially in those that suffer from panic and anxiety attacks. This is because, with those conditions , a person is much more likely to suffer from hyperventilation.
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Effect Of Combined Anxiety And Depression On Mean Blood Pressure
We found symptoms of anxiety and depression to predict a relative decrease in blood pressure during 22-year follow-up. Baseline level of anxiety and depression was positively associated with a decrease in systolic blood pressure in linear regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, educational level and baseline blood pressure. For diastolic blood pressure, we found a similar non-significant trend. A high symptom level at both baseline and at year 11 was more strongly associated with a decrease in blood pressure during 22-year follow up. In individuals with a high symptom level at all three examinations, we found an even stronger decrease for both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared with individuals with a lower symptom level. Additional adjustment for other health factors and for antihypertensive medication did not change the overall pattern of results, but the effect of combined anxiety and depression on blood pressure was slightly attenuated .
Table 2 Association of combined anxiety/depression scores1 with change in blood pressure from baseline to 22-year follow-up
Excluding individuals using antidepressant medication at year 11 did not change the results essentially: a high symptom level at all three examinations was associated with a slightly lower decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, after excluding those using antihypertensive medication at baseline or at year 22 , we found a stronger effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
How Can Anxiety Lead To High Blood Pressure
Naturally, your body produces hormones that trigger the fight or flight response when danger is sensed. This leads to stronger and faster heartbeats, increased blood to the organs, and therefore increased blood pressure. Sometimes, this response is triggered out of context and a person may feel anxious for seemingly no reason at all. On other occasions, anxiety is triggered by fear. Either way, anxiety can cause high blood pressure.
The difference between anxiety-induced blood pressure and someone with hypertension is that hypertension is long-term, while anxiety-induced hypertension is shorter in duration. According to the Mayo Clinic, anxiety does not cause long-term high blood pressure, though episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic, temporary spikes in blood pressure.
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Fortunately There Are More Than A Dozen Med
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?
Things That Can Increase Your Risk Of Getting High Blood Pressure
You might be more at risk if you:
- are overweight
- eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
- do not do enough exercise
- drink too much alcohol or coffee
- do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep
- are over 65
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
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Can Being Nervous Raise Blood Pressure
Can being nervous raise blood pressure
- Will Energea make me nervous, raise my blood pressure or give me ?
- Since it is not a stimulant, Energea will not raise blood pressure, make you nervous or give you palpitations like other energy boosting stimulants or herbal products.
Can Pain Cause High Blood Pressure
Pain, immediate or chronic can produce a traumatic effect on your body. It changes how things inside the body operate. If you have some form of pain, you may be wondering, can pain cause high blood pressure?
Pain can cause high blood pressure because it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. This increases the heart rate and constricts blood vessels which increases blood pressure.
This blog post will explain how the BP increases in more detail. In addition, Ill explain how much blood pressure will increase and if chronic pain can effect it too.
BP Tip: Lower BP naturally by changing how you breathe? Theres a device approved by the FDA and The American Heart Association. It simply guides your breathing for you a few minutes a day which has been proven to lower BP. You can check it out in the manufacturers website by .
Disclaimer: This post may have some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Blood Pressure And The Heart
Theres a reason why your blood pressure is taken every time you visit a doctors office or hospital, regardless of the complaint that brought you there. High blood pressure is rightly known as the silent killer. It often carries no symptoms or warning signs but can drastically increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The higher the number, the harder your heart is having to work to pump blood around your body and the more likely it is that damage is being done to the heart muscle. Since all parts of your body rely on circulation, though, its not just your heart that high blood pressure can impact. If blood doesnt flow easily, it can harm your arteries as well as vital organs such as the kidneys, eyes, and brain.
High blood pressure has been shown to damage the tiny blood vessels in the parts of your brain responsible for cognition and memory, greatly increasing your risk of developing Alzheimers disease or another dementia. Being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease can also take an emotional toll, affecting your outlook and making you more susceptible to anxiety and depression. And just as blood pressure may have an impact your mood, the reverse can also be true:
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Lowering Systolic Blood Pressure More May Cut Health Risks
One major study found that lowering systolic blood pressure to well below the commonly recommended level also greatly lowered the number of cardiovascular events and deaths among people at least 50 years old with high blood pressure.
When study participants achieved a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mmHg compared to the higher target of 140 mmHg recommended for most people, and 150 for people over 60 issues such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure were reduced by almost one-third, and the risk of death by almost one-fourth.
Thats important information, because more lives may be saved and more deaths may be prevented if we maintain lower blood pressure in certain patients, says Lynne Braun, NP, PhD, a nurse practitioner at the Rush Heart Center for Women.
Braun cautions, however, that your personal blood pressure target depends on a variety of things, including your current blood pressure, lifestyle, risk factors, other medications you are taking and your age. Every person has to be evaluated as an individual, she says. Realistically, we cant get everybody down to 120, and trying to do so may create unintended problems.
It can be dangerous, for instance, to keep an older person on medications that have unsafe side effects, such as diuretics , which can cause dehydration and dizziness in older adults.
And there can be other issues involved with taking multiple medications, such as cost and compliance.
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Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure
While periods of high anxiety or panic attacks can cause temporary rises in blood pressure and heart rate, there is not enough evidence to confirm that anxiety disorders cause long term hypertension though it has been suggested in certain studies.
When you become anxious or stressed, your body responds with surges in certain hormones, which can raise your heart rate and blood pressure. In isolation, occasional spikes in blood pressure do not lead to hypertension. But, if stress-induced spikes in blood pressure happen often enough, like every day, this can cause blood vessel damage and put stress on the heart and kidneys. These harmful effects are similar to what happens in people with hypertension.
Another way that anxiety can contribute to high blood pressure is that people often respond to stress with unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Here are some behaviors that can cause hypertension:
Smoking or vaping
Eating too much and/or eating unhealthy food
Not exercising or maintaining a healthy weight
Not getting enough sleep
Not taking their prescribed medications for high blood pressure
Rarely, medications to treat anxiety, such asserotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors can cause an increase in blood pressure. Your health care provider may have to adjust your medications if you develop high blood pressure as a side effect.
When To See A Doctor
Learning stress management on your own can help with anxiety and blood pressure.
However, if youve been experiencing high blood pressure and anxiety for a prolonged period, you should speak with a doctor.
If you experience any of the following symptoms along with a blood pressure reading of over 180/120, seek emergency medical care:
- Sudden loss of speech
- Severe headache or chest pain
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How Do I Lower My Blood Pressure
Once youve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first thing your healthcare team will do is test you for different conditions that cause secondary hypertension. If they identify a problem, they will work with you to treat the underlying condition, he says.
In all instances of hypertension, however, there are some basic measures that can be taken that can help lower your blood pressure as well as promote overall heart health, Dr. Singh says. These include:
- Reducing salt, red meat, saturated fat, and alcohol intake
- Getting regular cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking or running 30 minutes per day
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Taking time to minimize stress daily
- Avoiding all tobacco products like cigarettes and vapes
If your blood pressure remains high despite making lifestyle modifications, there are several different medications available that can work on their own or in combination with others to treat hypertension, Dr. Singh says. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine which medication regimen is best for your personal situation.
The bottom line: Since high blood pressure is asymptomatic, make sure youre going to your regular doctors visits. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can make healthy changes.