Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America , anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million adults every year in the United States. Anxiety can cause a wide range of physical symptoms, including an increase in blood pressure levels.
Although anxiety isnt linked to chronic high blood pressure, both short-term and chronic anxiety may cause your blood pressure to spike.
In this article, well explore the link between anxiety and high blood pressure and treatment options for both.
doesnt cause chronic high blood pressure. However, it can lead to a short-term increase in blood pressure.
When you begin to feel anxious because of a stressful situation, your body enters fight-or-flight mode. This happens due to the activation of your sympathetic nervous system. During fight-or-flight mode, your adrenaline and cortisol levels rise, both of which can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Although stress and anxiety can cause high blood pressure, its only temporary, and levels generally return to normal once youve calmed down again.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a chronic condition that occurs when blood pressure levels are elevated. Chronic high blood pressure can be quite dangerous and can cause significant damage to the body, especially the brain, heart, kidneys, and eyes.
Hypertension is classified into two categories:
Treatment options that may help include:
In Most Cases High Blood Pressure Does Not Cause Headaches Or Nosebleeds
- The best evidence indicates that high blood pressure does not cause headaches or nosebleeds, except in the case of hypertensive crisis, a medical emergency when blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher. If your blood pressure is unusually high AND you have headache or nosebleed and are feeling unwell, wait five minutes and retest. If your reading remains at 180/120 mm Hg or higher, call 911.
- If you are experiencing severe headaches or nosebleeds and are otherwise unwell, contact your doctor as they could be symptoms of other health conditions.
Blood Pressure Is Mostly A Silent Disease
Unfortunately, high blood pressure can happen without feeling any abnormal symptoms.
Moderate or severe headaches, anxiety, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, palpitations, or feeling of pulsations in the neck are some signs of high blood pressure. Often, these are late signs that high blood pressure has existed for some time, therefore annual checks are recommended for all adults.
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How Is It Diagnosed
Because it is such a common problem, blood pressure is checked at most healthcare visits. High blood pressure is usually discovered during one of these visits. If your blood pressure is high, you will be asked to return for follow-up checks. If repeated checks of your blood pressure show that it is higher than 140/90, you have hypertension.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your life situation, what you eat and drink, and if high blood pressure runs in your family. You may have urine and blood tests. Your provider may order a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram . You may be asked to use a portable blood-pressure measuring device, which will take your pressure at different times during day and night. All of this testing is done to look for a possible cause of your high blood pressure.
Everyone Has Blood Pressure Our Blood Pressure Is Simply The Amount Of Work That Our Hearts Have To Do To Pump Our Blood Around The Body
What is blood pressure, exactly?
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. If its not treated or kept under control, it is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Treatment and detection is very possible but it starts with you.
Blood pressure is measured by two numbers
The first number records blood pressure when the pressure is at its highest i.e. when the heart muscle squeezes out the blood this is called systolic pressure.
The second number is when the heart relaxes and allows the blood to flow back into the heart this is called diastolic pressure.
Whats the normal level?
The normal level of blood pressure is usually about 120 over 80 . If your blood pressure is 140 over 90 or higher you should discuss this reading with your doctor.
Why is blood pressure important
The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of heart attack or stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and poor circulation in your legs. These problems can be avoided if your blood pressure is controlled.
Over half of all adults in Ireland over 45 years of age have high blood pressure. About 4 in every 5 men and 2 in every 3 women with high blood pressure are not being treated. Keep reading and well help change that.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it means your blood pressure is consistently higher than it should be. Thankfully, there are several ways to help reduce it which we will talk you through below.
Are there any signs or causes?
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Looking For A List Of Symptoms
If you are looking for a list of symptoms and signs of high blood pressure , you wont find them here. This is because most of the time, there are none.
Myth: People with high blood pressure will experience symptoms, like nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing.
Truth: High blood pressure is a largely symptomless silent killer. If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.
What Should I Do If My Blood Pressure Is 160 Over 100
Your doctor If your blood pressure is higher than 160/100 mmHg, then three visits are enough. If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mmHg, then five visits are needed before a diagnosis can be made. If either your systolic or diastolic blood pressure stays high, then the diagnosis of hypertension can be made.
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Lifestyle Changes With Blood Pressure Of 160/90
Medications can do a lot to reduce high blood pressure but lifestyle changes remain a frontline of defense.
The first step is to monitor your blood pressure on a consistent basis. Purchase a home blood pressure monitor that uses an arm cuff and check your blood pressure every few days. Keep a record of your blood pressure readings and share it with your doctor at your next visit.
Whether youre checking your blood pressure regularly or not, lifestyle modifications are usually recommended. Lifestyle modifications for those with a blood pressure of 160/90 include the following:
What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Reading Is 150/90
A blood pressure reading of 150/90 can be cause for concern. The first step is to take another reading to confirm your blood pressure.
As an aside, home blood pressure monitors are amazingly affordable and great way to stay on top of your blood pressure. So invest in your health and check out .
Elevated blood pressure should be confirmed on at least 3 separate days before diagnosing hypertension.
Already diagnosed with hypertension? If so a blood pressure in this range may indicate the need to adjust your blood pressure medications.
Once you have been assessed by a medical professional there are a number of ways you can address a blood pressure reading of 150/90.
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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.
Living With Panic Attack Health Fears
Panic attacks involve so many physical symptoms that health fears are incredibly common. It can even create health anxiety. Thats why its so important to get your panic attacks under control.
Your blood pressure does increase when you have anxiety. Two different issues lead to the development of high blood pressure during an attack:
- Adrenaline, which causes your heart to speed blood around your body.
- Hyperventilation, which causes your blood vessels to constrict.
Both of these lead to tremendous pressure, and in some cases the appearance of severe hypertension. Those that go through panic attacks, they tend to experience fear over whether or not these attacks indicate that they are putting strain on their heart that could be deadly.
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Temporary Spikes Are Not Dangerous
Those with chronic anxiety may be more prone to high blood pressure spikes, but the body does do a good job of adjusting and blood pressure often gets back to its normal rate for most of the day. You can’t necessarily feel high blood pressure, and while any stress on the body can cause anxiety, it’s more likely that your anxiety causes the spikes than the other way around.
It’s never a bad idea to speak with a doctor about your blood pressure concerns either. Only a doctor can tell you if there is something you should worry about. Also, remember that the more you worry about your blood pressure, the more anxiety you’ll experience, and the more likely you’ll suffer from these blood pressure spikes.
Learning To Cope With Stress Can Help
Stress and hypertension have often been linked, but researchers are still looking into a direct relationship between the two. Still, the best advice to hypertensive patients: Try to relax.
When you are stressed, your body sends stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones create a temporary spike in blood pressure, causing your heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow. When the stressful situation is over, blood pressure goes back to its normal level.
Chronic stress, however, may cause your body to stay in this highly-charged state longer than natural.
While stress itself may or may not affect blood pressure, how you cope with stress does. For instance, overeating, smoking and drinking alcohol in response to stressful situations are direct causes of sustained high blood pressure. On the flip side, healthier coping mechanisms like exercising, practicing yoga and meditating can all help lower blood pressure.
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What Is The Link Between High Blood Pressure And Stroke
High blood pressure can lead to stroke in different ways. It can lead to blood clots in the brain, and can damage the tiny blood vessels deep inside the brain. It can also make a stroke due to bleeding in the brain more likely.
Strokes due to a clot
High blood pressure damages your blood vessels by making them become narrower and stiffer, and causing a build-up of fatty material. This process is called atherosclerosis. Clots can form on the areas of fatty material, and if a clot travels to the brain it causes a stroke or transient ischaemic attack .
Stroke and cognitive problems due to small vessel disease
Small vessel diseases means having damage to the tiny blood vessels deep inside the brain. This makes a stroke more likely, and it can affect your thinking ability . Its often caused by high blood pressure.
Stroke due to bleeding in or around the brain
High blood pressure can damage blood vessels inside the brain, causing bleeding in the brain. This is called a haemorrhagic stroke.
White Coat Hypertension Presents An Elusive Challenge
Although white coat hypertension is chalked up to general anxiety, it may be the medical setting, and specifically the physician, that acts as the trigger.
A 34-year-old man consistently had in-office blood pressure values of 140 to 150/94 mm Hg. However, he was thin, jogged, and was cautious about his salt intake. He also had a normal electrocardiogram, normal glucose and kidney function values, and home blood pressure readings of 125 to 130/80 to 84 mm Hg. He did not take antihypertensive medication.
This patient demonstrates a typical example of white coat hypertension, which may occur in one in five patients with elevated untreated office pressures, explained Raymond Townsend, MD, director of the hypertension program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Although white coat hypertension often is chalked up to general anxiety, it may be the medical setting, and the presence of the physician in particular, that serves as the specific trigger, said William Gerin, PhD, a professor in the department of biobehavioral health at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa.
In a study by Dr. Gerin and his colleagues, reported in Blood Pressure Monitoring in 2001, a physician, nurse and automated device measured blood pressures in hypertensive patients.
A 6 Step Process For Assessing A Blood Pressure Management Plan
1.Obtain a high-quality home blood pressure monitor.
Why: Studies have found that home-based measurements are better than office-based BP measurements. They better reflect a persons BP over 24 hours.
Notes: See Choosing & Using a Home Blood Pressure Monitor for more details on choosing a monitor. Be sure to get one that measures BP at the upper arm . Ask your doctor for help validating that your home monitor is getting accurate readings.
2. Check blood pressure twice a day, every day for one week.
Why: Since blood pressure is constantly changing a bit or sometimes a lot in the body, checking several days in a row means that youll have several readings that can be averaged.
Aim to check at the same times every day. An average of several daily readings provides a more accurate picture of a persons BP.
Checking in the morning and evening is recommended by many experts. This is because BP can vary during the day, especially in people who are taking BP medications. But if checking twice a day seems too hard, just check once a day.
Experts also often say to check BP in the morning before any medications are taken. However, if there have been any concerns about falls, I like to review readings taken about an hour after medication. This is because I want to make sure the BP isnt falling too low when a person takes their medication.
Some home blood pressure monitors have a feature that makes this easy to do.
3. Make an up-to-date list of all current medications.
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.
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Does Anxiety Have A Cure
No, there is no cure for anxiety. That is because you wont be able to say you will never again experience an anxiety disorder in your lifetime, and that is especially because there is a genetic factor to the condition.
But, with that said, it is important to know that there is a treatment for anxiety, and through that, you will be able to live a normal life. At first, anxiety will surely ask you to make some adjustments.
You may need to have a calmer life, but as you understand more and more about the roots of it, and what triggers it, they become more manageable and have less impact on your quality of life.
What is important to keep in mind is that, even once you begin to feel better, it is still important to focus on caring for your mental health. This will be the easiest way for you to prevent a relapse in the future.
Fifth Misconception About High Blood Pressure: Treatment Doesn’t Work
In fact, if you work with your doctor to develop a comprehensive program for managing your high blood pressure, that plan can work. To maximize the benefits of your plan, follow these steps:
- Check your blood pressure as often as recommended by your doctor.
- Follow your treatment plan consistently. Let your doctor know right away if you have problems with parts of the plan. Your doctor may refer you to other health care professionals who can help.
- See your doctor as often as requested. Bring your blood pressure records to show your doctor how the plan is working.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about medication side effects. Know when to call your doctor if there is a problem.
- Reduce how much salt you take in.
Learning about high blood pressure and how it can harm your health is the first step in controlling this condition so you can remain healthy for years to come.
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