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Will Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure

Can White Coat Hypertension Be Long

HBP 006- How anxiety causes High Blood Pressure

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.

High Blood Pressure: Symptoms Treatments And Causes

If you’ve been told that you have high blood pressure, you’re not alone. Far from it, actually.

Almost 1 in 4 Canadian adults are affected by high blood pressure , and almost half of them don’t 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.

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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Is Pandemic Stress Affecting Your Blood Pressure

Of course, you cant determine if you have a problem when you dont even know what your blood pressure readings are. This is why its so important to have regular appointments with your primary care doctor, who will monitor your condition to ensure your blood pressure is at a healthy level.

If youve found that your blood pressure is consistently elevated despite being at normal levels in the past, it could be possible that the stress of the past year is affecting you, especially if you are taking comfort in unhealthy activities such as smoking.

How High Is Too High

Can High Blood Pressure Cause Anxiety?

Systolic blood pressure is the upper number in a blood pressure measurement. It indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart beats. Diastolic pressure, the lower number, shows how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart is resting between beats.

A blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal. High blood pressure is defined as 130/80 mm Hg or higher. But if your blood pressure is somewhere in between, it’s considered “elevated.” There are dangers of even slightly high blood pressure.

Your doctor should check your blood pressure during your well visits. But these numbers aren’t always telltale as some people develop what’s known as white coat hypertension, or higher-than-normal blood pressure at the doctor’s office because of stress and anxiety.

This is why most physicians will recommend home blood pressure monitoring if you have been diagnosed with hypertension or have risk factors for it, says Farbaniec. “I ask patients to find a cuff and we compare with ours in office,” he says. “If they match, that’s great.”

Measuring blood pressure at home is empowering, he adds. “When you are in charge of your own screening, you want to do better. It’s highly motivating.”

Keep track of your readings via an app or with a pen and paper. And discuss them with your doctor at your follow-up visits.

Read Also: How To Deal With Anxiety Attacks Naturally

The Relationship Between Anxiety And Blood Pressure

It is definitely the case that anxiety has an association with blood pressure, though its unclear to what extent that relationship is meaningful.

For instance, we know that people with anxiety do tend to have higher morning blood pressure spikes compared to those who do not suffer from anxiety something that might have serious implications for your mental health, if your morning routine struggles.

The general consensus is that anxietys effects on blood pressure should be considered temporary, but over time many episodes of anxiety can still do damage.

For instance, one study found that there is an association between anxiety and hypertension over time.

The authors of that study recommended that early detection and management of chronic anxiety was key in preventing the onset of anxiety-based hypertension.

Hypertension over time can cause a variety of health and blood pressure related side effects, can lead to heart and kidney disease, and can cause irreparable damage.

Causes Of High Blood Pressure

Theres no single cause of high blood pressure, but rather many contributing factors. Some are out of your control, such as age, race, gender, and family historyblood pressure tends to increase over the age of 70, affects more women than men over the age of 55, and is more common in African Americans than Caucasians, perhaps due to a genetic sensitivity to salt.

Many other risk factors for hypertension are within your control. Being overweight, eating a poor diet high in salt, smoking, drinking excessively, and not getting enough physical exercise can all impact your blood pressure.

There are also specific substances that can raise your blood pressure, such as:

  • Caffeine, including coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks.
  • Prescription medications, including some of those used to treat ADHD, birth control pills, corticosteroids, atypical antipsychotics, MAOIs and SNRIs used to treat depression, and some cancer drugs.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen .
  • Cough and cold medications containing decongestant or NSAIDs.
  • Herbal supplements, such as ephedra and yohimbine.
  • Recreational drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
  • Licorice found in some candies and gum.

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What Is A Healthy Blood Pressure Level

Blood pressure refers to the pressure caused by the blood on the walls of the veins and arteries as its pumped throughout the body. A healthy BP is anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80. The number at the top refers to the pressure against the blood vessel walls during heartbeats. The number at the bottom refers to the pressure between heartbeats.

What Is A Hypertensive Crisis

Can stress or anxiety cause high blood pressure?

If your blood pressure reaches 180/120 or higher, this is known as a hypertensive crisis. This requires emergency medical attention, since blood pressure this high may cause organ damage and could result in kidney failure, blindness, fluid buildup in the lungs, loss of consciousness, stroke, or heart attack.

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How Anxiety Raises Blood Pressure

In addition to impacting you emotionally, anxiety will likely affect you physically. It can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase in response to a stressor.

When you experience a stressor for example, someone cutting you off in traffic cortisol, the stress hormone, gets released into your bloodstream. Stress can also cause your heart rate to increase, leading to a higher volume of blood circulating in your arteries. Both of these factors can result in heightened blood pressure.

If you experience many of the following symptoms and signs, it could mean youre experiencing anxiety, which may result in heightened blood pressure:

  • excessive sweating

research suggests a link between hypertension and anxiety, its harder to tell whether your blood pressure levels could actually be adding to your anxiety.

Whats clearer is that its not uncommon for conditions linked to hypertension like heart problems and stroke to cause anxiety. In fact, about 1 in 4 people experience anxiety after a stroke. Meanwhile, nearly 1 in 5 people who experienced cardiac arrest had feelings of worry that kept coming back after the fact.

You might worry about:

  • having to go back to the hospital
  • missing work or important events due to your health
  • experiencing the financial impacts of having a health condition

Its possible to manage anxiety about hypertension alongside hypertension itself.

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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Prospective Studies Of Anxiety Predicting Hypertension Risk

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.

Early Diagnosis And Treatment Is Vital

Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?  Nirogam

The force of high blood pressure damages the lining of the arteries, which allows “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol plaques to set up camp, potentially blocking blood flow and causing a heart attack or stroke. The more plaque and damage, the narrower the insides of the arteries.

You can’t feel high blood pressureso the only way to know you have it is to get tested. This information will give you a running start against the consequences of uncontrolled high blood pressure.

“We need to be hyper-vigilant about high blood pressure because it’s a silent killer,” says Mike Farbaniec, a cardiologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “Make sure you see your doctor when you are in your 30s to 50s. If you hit prevention hard then, you are less likely to be sick in your 60s and 70s.”

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What Effect Does Stress Have On The Body

Stress is something everyone occasionally experiences, and different levels of stress will affect us in various ways. Headaches, heartburn, depression, insomnia, low sex drive… stress can contribute to all of it.

It can also be dangerous for the heart. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict to give your muscles more oxygen. Doing that also raises your blood pressure significantly. In small doses, your body can manage dealing with stress, but chronic stress can overwork your heart and put you at risk for many worse conditions. Other stress-related issues, like anxiety and depression, can produce stress hormones that damage your arteries over time and make you more prone to other heart-related conditions.

Anxiety And Heart Disease

The association between anxiety and heart disease has not been as fully studied as the relationship between depression and heart disease.

However, Una D McCann, M.D., director of the Anxiety Disorders Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, believes the connection is strong.

Recommended Reading: How Do I Stop Heart Palpitations From Anxiety

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.

How To Reduce Stress

Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure?

The good news is that managing stress is easy, and its free. Infusing a few simple, healthy habits into your lifestyle can help lower your stress levels.

Its perfectly OK to take some time off to relax and recharge, whether thats with some gardening, binge-watching a favorite show or taking a walk, reminds Dr. Kayal.

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Anxiety And Low Blood Pressure Whats The Connection

Sometimes, anxiety can work otherwise, reducing blood pressure.

This decline may be caused by the shallow breath taken during the anxiety period which widens the blood vessel, lowering blood pressure.

On the other hand, low blood pressure, also called hypotension may also cause panic and anxiety, which is similar to anxiety symptoms like:

  • Dizziness

And Vice Versa High Blood Pressure Also Causes Anxiety

It may be possible that blood pressure causes anxiety only because this anxiety is caused by worrying about blood pressure. If a person is already anxious and finds out that they have high blood pressure, they tend to worry more about their high blood pressure. High blood pressure on its own doesnt cause any symptoms so people usually dont realize they have high blood pressure. But if the blood pressure is caused by other serious health problems, the person may feel more anxious.

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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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