Who Is At Risk For High Blood Pressure
Your family history, lifestyle and medications can increase the chances youll develop high blood pressure. Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- Drinking too much
- Some medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, also known as NSAIDS, some decongestants, weight loss medicines and stimulants)
- Some underlying health conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, kidney conditions, adrenal gland tumors and thyroid diseases
- Tobacco and illicit drug use
Unfortunately, family history is a large contributing factor. Even if you eat well, are physically active and avoid risk factors, you may still experience high blood pressure.
Anxiety And High Blood Pressure
Hi I was wondering how may people have high blood pressure with anxiety. When I’m relaxed my bp is normally 130/78. If I’m anxious it can easily go up to 180/90 it’s pretty scary! If I can relax it takes about 2 mins to go back to around 140/80.
With my anxiety this worries me the most I’m on BP medication which keeps it check most of the time with some awful side effects.
I’ve had all the tests done over the years which have all been good. My GP assures me my anxiety does this to me and it’s nothing to worry about. Unfortunately when all this started 5 years ago I googled high BP and over 180 is an hypertensive crisis and you should immediately go to the hospital.
When I had my first panic attack 5 years ago which started this madness my BP was 230/110/150 it was the worst day of my life.
Over the years my anxiety has sometimes just vanished and at one stage went for about 8 months. Lately it has come back. I can handle everything about it the pain/ palpitations dizziness feeling awful. Buts it the high blood pressure that worries me. I had a complete medical as recent as 3 weeks ago which was fine for my age 57.
Do other people have Blood pressure issues with their anxiety?
4 likes, 58 replies
5 years ago
Cristina I had to look up long qt syndrome it sounds pretty scary have you been diagnosed with that?
You Shouldn’t Ignore White Coat Hypertension
Some people experience white coat hypertension, when blood pressure is elevated in the doctor’s office but not in other settings. These patients need to monitor their blood pressure at home or wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor that takes your blood pressure every 30 minutes for 24 hours.
While white coat hypertension was formerly considered simple nervousness, recent research suggests otherwise.
A study published in the journal Hypertension found that people with white coat hypertension are at a significantly greater risk for developing sustained high blood pressure than people who have normal blood pressure. One possible explanation is that people with white coat hypertension have a harder time managing stress and anxiety.
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When Should You Go To The Er For High Blood Pressure
Complications caused by hypertension , is one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits. Elevated blood pressure levels can cause substantial damage to our bodies and lead to conditions that can become life-threatening.
Knowing when to seek immediate emergency care can help you avoid delays in getting medical attention, and decrease your risk of developing severe complications caused by extremely high blood pressure.
According to the American Heart Association, when blood pressure levels increase severely and reach measurements of 180/110 or greater, you should seek immediate medical attention.
There are other warning signs coupled with high blood pressure that indicate you are having a hypertensive crisis and require emergency care. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Severe chest pain
- Severe headaches accompanied by blurred vision and confusion
- Shortness of breath
The cause of a severe spike in your blood pressure and these symptoms could be the result of missing your blood pressure medications, a stroke, a heart attack, kidney failure or an artery rupture.
A hypertensive crisis can lead to complications or damages to your body such as fluid in the lungs, memory loss, vision damage, and damage to vital organs. This is why it is important that you go to your nearest hospital emergency room and receive the treatment needed to lower your blood pressure. Damage to your organs will be assessed and your doctors will immediately address complications.
What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Your blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Someone with a systolic pressure of 117 and a diastolic pressure of 78 has a blood pressure of 117/78, or “117 over 78.”
Blood pressure that is too high increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Your blood pressure should be less than 140/90 . If you have diabetes, it should be less than 130/80 . If you are 80 years and older, it should be less than 150/90 .
If the first number is:
OR the second number is:
Your blood pressure has:
90 or more
In general, the lower your blood pressure, the better. A blood pressure reading of less than 90/60 is normal as long as you feel okay.
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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.
How To Overcome The Fear Of Having Blood Pressure Taken
Informing yourself will help you stop obsessing over high blood pressure. It happened to me and I was able to overcome it.
In my own experience, it was really hard or almost impossible to relax at the doctors office. Thats why I preferred to monitor my blood pressure at home. However, if you need to go to a doctors appointment, the following is what you need to do:
- Prepare yourself mentally days or even weeks before the appointment. Think positively that everything will be fine.
- If you have a BP monitor try to practice at home. it is not the same but you can imagine being at the doctors office or have your friend monitor it for you and see how you feel.
- Learn to relax. Sit down and check any tightness especially your arms, neck, shoulders. Breathe deeply and relax your muscles starting with your legs, belly, back, arms, shoulders, and neck.
- Notice your posture. Keep in mind that your sitting position makes a difference in your BP readings.
- Expect any readings. Whats the worse that can happen if your readings are not the way you expected? Think that the world will not end. Keep in mind that blood pressure fluctuates during the day depending on how you feel and your stress levels.
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Symptoms During A Panic Attack
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , four or more of the following physical and psychological symptoms must be present:
- Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
If four or more of the above symptoms are present, it is known as a full-symptom panic attack. The Ada app can help you check your symptoms. or find out more about how it works.
What Can Cause A Fast Heart Rate
Teasing out whether your rapid heart rate is part of a panic attack or caused by something else can be challenging, says heart rhythm specialist Faisal Merchant, MD, an electrophysiologist and professor at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Is the panic disorder or stress and anxiety causing the high heart rate? Occasionally, people can have high heart rate as a primary problem, and when the hearts racing, that can make you feel stressed and anxious.
There are a number of reasons why you might have a rapid heart rates, says the American Heart Association. Other possible causes that your doctor may consider include:
- Caffeine intake
Ultimately, Dr. Merchant says, it can be a diagnosis of exclusion. Once youve done whatever evaluation you need to do to make sure the hearts otherwise normal, that the electricity in the heart is normal, then you can say, This fits with a panic attack, but theres not a specific test that you can do to clearly diagnose someone with a panic attack, he explains.
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What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Reading Is 180/100
A blood pressure reading of 180/100 is 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 .
You may want to calm down before getting another blood pressure reading. Lie down and rest for a few minutes.
This is a potentially life-threating issue and you should call 911 immediately.
Once you have been assessed by a medical professional there are a number of ways you can address a blood pressure reading of 180/100.
What Kind Of Treatment Will I Get At The Er For Hypertension
If you are diagnosed with a hypertensive episode, you will be given oral or intravenous medications to try to bring the blood pressure down, says Dr. Meier. Damage will also be assessed. If the heart is involved, or if youve had a stroke, additional treatment will be given to address those complications.
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Watch For Subtle Signs Of A Heart Attack
A heart attack might seem like it came out of nowhere. But in many cases, chest pain due to heart disease, known as angina, appears in the days or weeks before a cardiac event.
You may feel a twinge or some pain in the shoulder or chest but think its something else, says Dr. Miller. The symptoms go away. Then later, the pain gets worse, or you feel a little off. Then the heart attack hits. These early signs can be hard to identify.
How To Stop Worrying About Your Bp
Just like me, you can overcome your worries about your blood pressure. Any negative thoughts can be beaten with positive or enlightening ones.
However, sometimes you cannot manage them because you may be feeling very anxious or panicky. Sometimes we tend to ignore that your blood pressure is a bit higher due to your stress levels or panic attacks.
The more you think about it the worse you feel. Like any fears, you will need to conquer them. The tips below will definitely make a difference in your life:
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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.
“That’s 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 can’t 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.
Things You Can Do To Feel Less Anxious
Whether you have an anxiety disorder or not, everyone can benefit from reducing their daily anxiety levels. Here are some changes that you can make in your daily life to lower your anxiety levels:
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is very important for overall health, and getting enough sleep can make a huge difference in daily anxiety levels. Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, so make sure to aim for this.
- Eat a balanced diet. Eating nutritious foods can help support both your physical and mental well-being. Aim to fill your plate with whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, whenever possible.
- Move your body. Moving your body is important, whether that involves weight training at the gym or taking a walk around the block. Daily exercise and movement can help increase your endorphins and lower stress levels.
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your awareness to the present moment, which is incredibly important when you have anxiety. Meditation is a great mindfulness practice to reduce daily stress and anxiety.
Medications used to treat anxiety can help reduce overall anxiety levels, which can reduce blood pressure spikes. However, some anxiety treatment options may also cause an increase in blood pressure levels.
If dietary and lifestyle changes arent enough to lower your blood pressure naturally, certain may be prescribed, such as:
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Should You See Your Doctor About Panic Attacks
A panic attack can make you feel like youre about to collapse or even die, but it’s usually harmless. However, in some cases, you may need medical advice to rule out an underlying physical cause.
Get medical advice if:
- your panic attack continues after doing 20 minutes of slow breathing
- you still feel unwell after your breathing returns to normal
- you still have a rapid or irregular heartbeat or chest pains after your panic attack
- you regularly have panic attacks, as this could be a sign that you have panic disorder
What Are The Symptoms Of Malignant Hypertension
Other symptoms depend on how the rise in blood pressure affects your organs. A common symptom is bleeding and swelling in the tiny blood vessels in the retina. The retina is the layer of nerves that line the back of the eye. It senses light and sends signals to the brain through the optic nerve, which can also be affected by malignant hypertension. When the eye is involved, malignant hypertension can cause changes in vision.
Other symptoms of malignant hypertension include:
High blood pressure, in general, makes it difficult for kidneys to filter wastes and toxins from the blood. It is a leading cause of kidney failure. Malignant hypertension can cause your kidneys to suddenly stop working properly.
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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 dentists or doctors office . In fact, this type of anxiety can raise blood pressure by 10 points. 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 mmHg.
The Importance Of Controlling Stress And Anxiety
Now, the caveat to all of this is that stress especially long-term stress does damage your body. Frequent panic attacks are unhealthy, especially if you do suffer from any disease, like heart disease, which is exacerbated by stress.
So while anxiety and panic attacks can lead to large temporary spikes in blood pressure, that isn’t the concern. The concern is that living with anxiety is difficult, and living with stress in the long term is unhealthy. That’s why it’s important to make sure you take action to control your anxiety.
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