Anxiety and high blood pressure are somehow interrelated. Anxiety may cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure may lead to anxiety.
Doctors define anxiety as an intense feeling of fear or sudden worry which can trigger other conditions like a faster heartbeat and short breath. Prolonged anxiety can cause high blood pressure.
Furthermore, prolonged high blood pressure, also called hypertension, can cause you to worry about your health (anxiety).
Continue reading as we delve more into the connection between anxiety and high blood pressure. Plus, possible solutions to both conditions.
The Link Between Anxiety and High Blood Pressure
The period of anxiety is usually followed by a blood pressure increase.
When in anxiety, the body releases stress hormones. These hormones narrow the blood vessel and increase the heart rate- both of which may trigger a dramatic rise in blood pressure.
Many people believe that anxiety is responsible for white coat hypertension – a hypertensive condition where patient records higher blood pressure at the health practitioners office than at their home (more on that later)
High blood pressure caused by Anxiety is usually temporary and may lessen as soon as the anxiety reduces.
On the flip side, a consistently higher anxiety level may damage the kidneys, damage the heart, or even the blood vessels, just like hypertension.
The problem is most people with anxiety tend to practice unhealthy lifestyles to relieve their symptoms. Smoking and excessive alcohol intake are some of the ways most people manage this condition. However, long-term practice of this temporary relief can result in hypertension.
According to several studies, people with extreme anxiety are more likely to have hypertension compared to those with minimal anxiety levels.
Giving early attention to anxiety can help subdue their long-term impact, especially among hypertensive individuals.
Some Lifestyle activities trigger anxiety. Activities that interfere with a normal lifestyle which could lead to hypertension. They include:
- Poor or no exercise
- Excess alcohol intake
- Poor diet
A study reports the connection between anxiety and poor lifestyle habits like smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise – among people at risk of hypertension.
Furthermore, some over-the-counter medications for anxiety can trigger blood pressure increase.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Anxiety?
Some people with high blood pressure can experience feelings of anxiety. People diagnosed with hypertension may start to constantly worry about their condition and the future of their health.
In fact, some hypertension symptoms like short breath, blurred vision, and headache may trigger panic and anxiety.
Anxiety and Low Blood Pressure – What’s 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:
- Blurred vision
Is It Anxiety? Or A Blood Pressure Change?
Identifying the difference between the symptoms of anxiety and blood pressure change can be challenging.
However, keep in mind that hypertension shows no symptoms (except in rare, exceptional cases which require urgent attention).
Only low blood pressure is likely to show symptoms, which are usually the same as symptoms of anxiety.
You should see your doctor if symptoms persist.
Your doctor can diagnose the real cause of these symptoms and proffer a solution to your anxiety.
Does Anxiety Cause Hypertension?
Not really! Although anxiety can possibly lead to temporal high blood pressure, there are equal chances for people with anxiety disorder as much as for those without anxiety disorder to develop hypertension. But that’s not to justify that temporal high blood pressure is risk-free. In fact, consistently high blood pressure occurrences can damage the blood vessel, stress the kidney, stress the heart, and lead to health problems associated with hypertension.
How can I manage my anxiety?
We experience anxiety at some point. All of us. However, if your anxiety persists for days, taking a toll on your daily activities, it could be an anxiety disorder. You’re not alone. You and 40 million older adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. And it’s treatable.
If you experience a fluctuating blood pressure number, but it’s still within the healthy range, then you don’t need any medical attention.
Over 40% of US adults have hypertension. So if you’re hypertensive and still have an anxiety disorder, you must work with a doctor to find the ideal treatment that works with both conditions.
Anxiety can be treated in many ways. Some anxieties require multiple treatment combinations.
There are lots of medications for anxiety symptoms relief.
However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. What works for one might not work for another.
Medication options include:
- Buspirone ( anti-anxiety solution)
- Benzodiazepines, for temporary anxiety relief
Consult a Psychotherapist
Psychotherapists are professionals at managing anxiety symptoms. You can work with one. Your psychotherapist may recommend Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
This therapy encourages patients to eliminate thoughts that trigger the anxiety emotion. Once you’ve learned how to manage your anxiety, you can begin to face the anxiety-triggered situation. Over time, you become fearless about your anxiety triggers.
Some lifestyle changes are simple but can play an important role in helping you reduce anxiety symptoms. For example:
During exercise, your body releases hormones that help reduce blood pressure and anxiety. 15 to 30 minutes of daily exercise is fine. And your exercise can be something as simple as trekking a distance. Speak with your doctor for suitable exercise.
Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises
Many studies found that activities that involve breathing exercise help reduce anxiety and lower, blood pressure. When you breathe slowly and then deeply, your heart rate reduces. This exercise reduces stress in the heart while lessening anxiety symptoms.
Get Enough Rest. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep promotes good health. When you don’t sleep, your heart does an extra job of pumping blood to the body. Not getting enough sleep can increase your anxiety and even trigger high blood pressure.
Reduce alcohol consumption
Decent alcohol intake is good for the heart, but extreme consumption can cause heart disease. Alcohol can also worsen anxiety. It’s best to stop alcohol if you have anxiety and is hypertensive.
Sex, according to research has been linked to several benefits such as reducing anxiety and blood pressure.
Some Erectile dysfunction has been linked to hypertension and anxiety. Regular sex with your partner can improve your anxiety and high blood pressure symptoms.
Can White Coat Hypertension be Long-term?
Whitecoat hypertension is a condition among people where they have higher blood pressure at the doctor’s office than at home. And it’s usually more anxiety-related.
Whitecoat hypertension is more common among women than in men, and chances of occurrence increase with age. it’s 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 doctor’s treatment.
How to Treat High Blood Pressure
Lifestyle changes can benefit people with long term high blood pressure.(hypertension)
Your doctor should recommend a few of these:
- Eat healthily. Reduce salt
- Avoid tobacco
- Reduce alcohol to the extreme
- Exercise regularly
- Lose weight
There are lots of medications for high blood pressure.
- Renin inhibitor
- Calcium channel blockers
Some factors like overall health and level of hypertension will determine the type of medication to use. Some hypertension may require multiple medications.
When Should You Seek Help?
If you have anxiety or hypertension, meet with your doctor. In addition, severe symptoms may require emergency medical attention.
Below are symptoms to take seriously:
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Increased heart rate
High blood pressure is treatable. Anxiety is treatable. Not everyone with anxiety develops hypertension.
However, it’s best to seek help earlier to reduce the chances of complications from both conditions.
Yes! There’s a connection between high blood pressure and anxiety. Someone with anxiety may develop hypertension, especially if their anxiety is intended and if it persists.
People with high blood pressure may develop anxiety.
Treating your anxiety may improve your high blood pressure symptoms. And vice versa.
Speak with a doctor if you have any (or both) of the conditions.
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