Diagnosis Of High Blood Pressure
The best way to diagnose HBP is to have it measured. A blood pressure reading, given in millimeters of mercury , has two numbers.
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls during heartbeats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories. The American Heart Associations guidelines are as follow:
- Normal blood pressure: A reading of less than 120 and 80
- Elevated blood pressure: A reading ranging from 120 to 129 and below 80
- Stage 1 hypertension: A reading ranging from 130 to 139 or 80 to 89
- Stage 2 hypertension: A reading ranging from 140 or higher or 90
- Hypertensive crisis : A reading higher than 180 and/or 120
*If you have an electronic blood pressure machine and would like to measure your blood pressure at home, please follow The American Heart Associations guidelines:
High Blood Pressure Can Make You Emotion
People with high blood pressure have more trouble than others in picking up emotional cues, a new study finds.
Researchers reported that people with high blood pressure were less reactive when shown photographs and text passages meant to trigger emotions including fear, anger and happiness.
This weakened response could be called “emotional dampening,” said James McCubbin, a psychology professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, who led the study.
Giving an example of how people try to manage the emotional responses of other people, McCubbin said, “When we send an email and try to make a joke, we need to use a smiley face to tell a reader it’s a joke so they don’t misinterpret it and get angry.”
However, “people with emotional dampening may have a hard time recognizing emotions,” he said. For instance, at work they might think their boss is kidding when he is actually showing his anger.
Previous studies linked high blood pressure to a reduced ability to perceive negative emotions. The new study also shows a lessened perception of positive emotions , the researchers wrote.
The physiological or mental changes behind this dampening are not yet known, the researchers added.
Blood pressure and emotions
McCubbin’s work was based on data collected from 2000 to 2002. As part of a pilot study called HANDLS , McCubbin and his colleagues measured the blood pressure and emotional responses of 106 African- Americans of low socioeconomic status in Baltimore.
Medications To Manage Stress And Anxiety
Managing hypertension is really 70% lifestyle and 30% medications, Dr. Laffin says.
To start, expect your doctor to ask questions about your lifestyle and habits, including your sleep. I always talk to patients about the impact of sleep on heart health, and how stress impacts sleep, he adds.
You may also need to rely on medication to bring down your anxiety. But just like the ability to handle stress, what medication will work best varies from person to person and requires consultation with your healthcare provider.
If stress and anxiety are leading to a lot of blood pressure elevation, we can try medications called beta-blockers, Dr. Laffin says. Theyre not the first line of treatment for blood pressure in most people, but they can be helpful for people with significant stress and anxiety because they decrease your sympathetic nervous system activity and slow down your heart rate in stressful situations.
Other medications for bringing down blood pressure include calcium channel blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers. But its not all about medication. Remember: Theres no cure-all medication that will ensure a healthy heart, so its up to you to embrace a lifestyle that will help keep your ticker in tip-top shape.
To hear more from Dr. Laffin on this topic, listen to the Health Essentials Podcast episode Combating High Blood Pressure. New episodes of the Health Essentials Podcast publish every Wednesday.
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Can Stress And Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure
Stress and anxiety often go hand in hand, and both can contribute to your heart health.
When youre stressed or anxious, your body releases hormones, such as cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine. These hormones trigger the bodys fight, flight, or freeze response your bodys natural response to dangerous situations.
This rush of hormones can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as the body attempts to keep blood flowing to other parts of your body. A 2021 study by the American Heart Association found a particularly strong connection between cortisol and dopamine levels and consequent increases in blood pressure.
Your thoughts and how you respond to situations can also heighten your bodys response and further increase your blood pressure, according to another 2021 study.
Many factors can contribute to high blood pressure, including:
- race and ethnicity
Specific behavioral and lifestyle choices can also increase your chance of high blood pressure. These can include:
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to severe complications, such as heart attack or stroke. But there are ways you can manage your stress levels and blood pressure.
Consider trying the following simple steps:
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Know What Brings You Pleasure And Find Ways To Enjoy The Experience
Perhaps you enjoy volunteer opportunities or cooking your favorite foods. By taking time not only to participate in these activities but to intentionally enjoy them, you can build a satisfying life rather than hurry through your relaxing activities at a stressful pace.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016
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Acute Stress And Blood Pressure
Acute stress is temporary stress caused by a specific event, like the ones mentioned above. Bouts of anxiety, like having a panic attack, can also cause acute stress that raises your blood pressure.
If were in a stressful situation, the normal physiologic response is to increase blood pressure, Dr. Laffin explains. Acute stress can increase your heart rate and rev up your sympathetic nervous system, which, in turn, raises your blood pressure.
In these cases, your symptoms dissipate once your stressor is gone. You complete your deadline, you make up with your spouse, you catch your dog, you come down from your panic attack and soon, your blood pressure returns to normal, too.
Its normal to experience changes in blood pressure throughout the day, and your body is typically skilled at managing them. The body can handle acute changes in blood pressure pretty well, Dr. Laffin says. What were really worried about is chronically elevated blood pressure.
Deficient Emotional Behavior In Essential Hypertension
Research has established that the tendency to exhibit enhanced cardiovascular responses to stress and aversive situations predicts later development of EH . Such responses include BP elevations that are higher than what is required for adaptive motor reaction to possible stressors . Researchers have posited that these exaggerated cardiovascular responses may be caused by abnormal neural circuits related to vascular control and reactivity to stress, eventually influencing the brainstem nuclei that control autonomic nerve movement to the myocardium and vasculature . Patients with EH exhibit structural and functional abnormalities in neural networks that include fronto-parietal, limbic, and brainstem regions . Initial studies among healthy individuals demonstrate a relation between enhanced BP reactions and enhanced neural activation in limbic and brainstem regions in response to mental stress . Based on these studies, researchers have suggested that brain abnormality in groups at high risk of developing EH is related to exaggerated BP responses to stress, which may play a causal role in the development of EH . They speculate that such recurring exaggerated cardiovascular responses may promote structural changes in the vascular tissues and thus ultimately lead to the development of EH .
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If You Have Cardiovascular Disease
If youve just been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or have suffered a serious health event such as a stroke or heart attack, you may be experiencing a great deal of emotional upheaval. Its important to give yourself time to process the change in your health and be kind to yourself as you adjust to your new situation. But its also important to know there are plenty of things you can do to come to terms with your diagnosis and regain control of your health.
The Hospital Anxiety And Depression Scale
The Scale was designed by Zigmond and Snaith in 1983 to measure anxiety and depression in a general medical population of patients . The questionnaire comprises seven questions for anxiety and seven questions for depression, a total of 14 items. The score range is between 0 to 21 0-7 ânormalâ, 8-10 âmildâ, 11-14 âmoderateâ, and 15-21 âsevereâ emotional disorder. Turkish validity and reliability of The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was made by Aydemir, et al. in 1997 .
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What Can High Blood Pressure Do To My Body
When you build a house, you have to make sure your foundation is secure and strong. If it is not, then it can crack or bow. The floors can weaken, walls can buckle, the roof can become insecure. A weak foundation makes your house susceptible to damage from storms and earthquakes, which can damage everything inside. Your heart is your foundation. If it is weak, the rest of your body suffers. And eventually, your body, like your house, will start falling in on itself.
On of the effects of high blood pressure on your body is that it puts your heart at risk: your heart is working beyond its capabilities in order to supply blood to the body. This can cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, arteries, brain, and obviously the heart itself. Untreated hypertension can cause:
The Importance Of Stress Management
In todays fast-paced world filled with increasing demands, stress management is a life skill and a lifesaver. Its also important to note that while the link between stress and high blood pressure is still being studied, stress is known to contribute to risk factors like a poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption.
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What Is The Link Between Anxiety And High Blood Pressure
Anxiety and high blood pressure can sometimes go hand in hand. Anxiety may lead to high blood pressure, and high blood pressure may trigger feelings of anxiety.
Doctors characterize anxiety as feelings of intense worry or fear. It causes many physical symptoms, including increased heart rate and shallow breathing. Periods of anxiety may also temporarily increase blood pressure.
Keep reading to learn more about the link between anxiety and high blood pressure, as well as how to treat both conditions.
Anxiety causes the release of stress hormones in the body. These hormones trigger an increase in the heart rate and a narrowing of the blood vessels. Both of these changes cause blood pressure to rise, sometimes dramatically.
Doctors believe that anxiety is the reason behind white coat hypertension a phenomenon in which some individuals consistently have higher blood pressure readings at the doctors office than at home.
Anxiety-induced increases in blood pressure are temporary and will subside once the anxiety lessens. Regularly having high levels of anxiety, however, can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels, in the same way that long-term hypertension can.
What Mental Health Disorders Are Related To Heart Disease
Mood Disorders: People living with mood disorders, such as major depression or bipolar disorder, find that their mood affects both psychological and mental well-being nearly every day for most of the day.
Anxiety Disorders: People respond to certain objects or situations with fear, dread, or terror. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorders, and phobias.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder : People can experience PTSD after undergoing a traumatic life experience, such as war, natural disaster, or any other serious incident.
Chronic Stress: People are in a state of uncomfortable emotional stressaccompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, and behavioral changesthat is constant and persists over an extended period of time.
*There may be other behavioral health disorders, such as substance use disorders, that are connected to heart disease.
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Can High Blood Pressure Cause Mental Problems
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health disorders that patients experience, and because of their chronic conditions, they may experience many negative emotions.
French researchers discovered that more than 1,300 elderly people in western France had health problems. High blood pressure can lead to mental decline four times more frequently in those who are not treated. By following a regimen of medications, blood pressure control appears to be much easier. Make sure your blood pressure is checked on a regular basis, even if it is under control on medication. People with untreated high blood pressure show a decrease in levels that put them at risk for dementia, according to the study. Dr. Robert DeCarli believes that high blood pressure is another risk factor for dementia in late life. When caring for an elderly relative, it is critical to recognize some early signs of mental decline.
Several factors contribute to high blood pressure, including lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery. People with hypertension have a higher rate of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. It is critical to consult a professional if you are experiencing these symptoms. Hypertension can be treated, and it is a manageable condition that can lead to a healthy and productive life.
Research Design And Setting
Our sample was 305 hypertensives visiting a family practice in Rize, a Northern city in the Black Sea Region of Turkey. Only hypertensive patients receiving medicines for blood pressure control included in the study and patients with other chronic conditions were excluded. Research was completed between December 2017 to April 2018. Formal permission was obtained from Directorate of Health in Rize. All participants gave informed verbal consent. Participants completed the main questionnaire and The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. We designed the main questionnaire including 18 items. These items are about age, gender, marital status, educational status, socioeconomic status, monthly household income, number of households, households , place of living, relationship with family members, relationship with friends, alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise, diet, psychiatric complaints, traumatic life events, blood pressure situations. The questionnaire and HAD scale were completed face-to-face and conducted by the authors.
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S To Lowering Your Blood Pressure
The first line of treatment for high blood pressure is to make healthy lifestyle changes:
Its also important to take any antihypertensive medications your doctor recommends. There are many different types of medications available to control high blood pressure, so if one drug causes unpleasant side effects, your doctor can help you find a more suitable one.
Even if your doctor also prescribes you medication to help tackle hypertension, controlling your weight, quitting smoking, improving your diet, managing stress, and getting regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape and managing your blood pressure over the long term.
Actions For This Page
- The long-term physical effects of uncontrolled anger include increased anxiety, high blood pressure and headache.
- Anger can be a positive and useful emotion, if it is expressed appropriately.
- Long-term strategies for anger management include regular exercise, learning relaxation techniques and counselling.
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Weight And Hypertension: A Weighty Issue
The commonest form of malnutrition is the western world is obesity. Dr. Mervyn Deitel, founder of scientific journal, Obesity Surgery
Weight is such a complex issue. But shouldnt it be simple? If you want to lose weight, you eat a bit less and exercise a bit more. Easy everyone should be dropping pounds. This is not the case though, as we see from the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese. It is estimated that nearly two out of every three Americans 64 percent are overweight or obese. The Department of Health and Human Services found that deaths directly attributable to poor diet and lack of physical activity increased 33 percent in the past decade. HHS Secretary Tommie Thompson said, Americans need to understand that overweight and obesity are literally killing us.
Fat cells accumulate and restrict the movement of blood through the vessels, raising blood pressure. The heart has to work much harder to deliver blood to the body, which weakens it over the long-term. Also affected are the arteries. They can become scarred and hardened. When this happens, they are less able to supply blood to the body, robbing tissue and organs of precious nutrients. They may also build up dangerous plaque, which is an accumulation of fat deposits, calcium, cholesterol, fibrin, and cellular waste. If the plaque ruptures, it can form a blood clot. This shuts off the flow of blood to an area of the body, which can result in strokes or heart attacks.
Complementary And Holistic High Blood Pressure Treatments
Three rules of work: out of clutter find simplicity from discord find harmony in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein
Imagine that you notice a foul odor in your house. There are two ways to approach the problem. One: you burn some incense in the bedroom, bake an apple pie in the kitchen, spray some air freshener in the bathroom, and maybe sprinkle some carpet deodorizer in the living room. You manage to cover up the odor. But when the masking smells dissipate, you are left with the same stench as before. Two: you identify the cause of the odor and deal with it. You find a bag of trash that didnt get taken out with the rest. Great, you know the problem and you can fix it.
Its a silly analogy, but it works! Its the same way with the body. You may have pain and heartache that you try to ignore. You cover it with food, you drown it with alcohol, you run away from it by becoming a workaholic, you numb your brain and your pain by sitting on the couch and watching TV. Whatever your drug of choice, you are only masking a deeper problem. Once the sugar rush wears off, once you sober up, you are left with the same hurt. The way to resolve this and heal to eliminate the odor, if you will is to get at the root.
There are also many other complementary,holistic treatments for high blood pressure you can do on your own to facilitate better physical and spiritual health:
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