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Can Stress Cause Low Blood Pressure

Study Design And Participants

Blood Pressure Facts : Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?

This study is part of the NordTrøndelag Health Study , Norway, which is described in detail elsewhere . All inhabitants aged 20years in the county were invited to a general health study. They received an invitation letter with a questionnaire and an appointed date for physical tests and blood samples. The questionnaire covered demographic characteristics, somatic illnesses, somatic and mental symptoms, physical impairments, drugs, lifestyle and healthrelated behaviour. This study concerned 65648 of a total of 92100 people aged 2089years who participated, and 60799 had valid scores of data relevant to this study. Participation in the HUNT Study was voluntary, and all participants gave written informed consent. The Norwegian Data Inspectorate and the Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics approved the study.

What Is Low Blood Pressure/hypotension

Low blood pressure or hypotension is a condition where the systolic and diastolic pressure falls below 90 and 60 respectively. Blood pressure is usually measured in millimetres of mercury, and normal blood pressure is usually slightly less than 120/80 mm Hg.

To have low blood pressure is not always a concern however, chronic hypotension can cause a lack of blood flow to the brain, causing dizziness, blackouts or loss of consciousness, and may even be life-threatening in severe cases.

More often, low blood pressure is a symptom of a different concern, such as plaque build-up, a heart disorder or aging related medical conditions, making it necessary to pay attention to signs of low blood pressure in its initial stages.

How Anxiety Causes Low Blood Pressure

Because high blood pressure is associated with stress, most people assume that low blood pressure must be a symptom of something else – something more dangerous. But low blood pressure is also a fairly common anxiety symptom, especially in those that suffer from panic and anxiety attacks. This is because, with those conditions , a person is much more likely to suffer from hyperventilation.

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Effect Of Pure Anxiety And Pure Depression On Mean Blood Pressure

In analyses using symptoms of anxiety and depression as continuous scores separately at year 11, we found that both anxiety and depression predicted lower blood pressure at year 22. In analyses where anxiety and depression were further adjusted for each other, the remaining effects of anxiety and of depression on blood pressure were attenuated or became non-significant . Further adjustment for other health factors, antihypertensive medication and heart rate slightly attenuated the associations, similarly as shown in Table . Supplementary analyses using anxiety/depression cut-offs confirmed the direction and increased the strength of the associations described above. However, several of the findings became non-significant .

Table 3 Association of anxiety and depression1 at 11-year follow-up with change in blood pressure from 11-year to 22-year follow-up

Clinical Depression: Symptoms And Treatment

How Anxiety Can Cause Low Blood Pressure

Email ThisBlogThis!History of ResearchLink between LowBlood Pressure and DepressionContradiction to Depression/HypertensionTheoryDoes Low Blood Pressure Cause depression? What Blood Pressureis considered Very Low?

  • Systolic pressure. The first number in a blood pressure reading, this is the amount of pressure your heart generates when pumping blood through your arteries to the rest of your body.
  • Diastolic pressure. The second number in a blood pressure reading, this refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats.

Common FactorsCausing Low Blood Pressure and DepressionMedications Cause Low Blood Pressure

  • Diuretics

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How Stress Affects Your Health

In addition to the emotional discomfort we feel when faced with a stressful situation, our bodies react by releasing stress hormones into the blood. These hormones prepare the body for the fight or flight response by making the heart beat faster and constricting blood vessels to get more blood to the core of the body instead of the extremities.

Constriction of blood vessels and increase in heart rate does raise blood pressure, but only temporarily when the stress reaction goes away, blood pressure returns to its pre-stress level. This is called situational stress, and its effects are generally short-lived and disappear when the stressful event is over.

Fight or flight is a valuable response when we are faced with an imminent threat that we can handle by confronting or fleeing. However, our modern world contains many stressful events that we cant handle with those options. Chronic stress causes our bodies to go into high gear on and off for days or weeks at a time. The links between chronic stress and blood pressure are not clear and are still being studied.

The Pandemics Effect On Blood Pressure

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress levels and fear for people across the globe. The devastating fatality rate of the virus, the implications of country-wide lockdowns, and high rates of unemployment are just a few common worries. All of those big emotions affect your blood pressureand poor coping mechanisms can make things even worse. On top of that, routine medical care is often delayed or even canceled as hospital systems become overwhelmed caring for people sick with the novel coronavirus.

Those factors put together are a recipe for flare-ups in those with existing hypertension and even new high blood pressure diagnoses for people previously unaffected. Its a worrying trend because hypertension is on the list of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk factors for complications from COVID-19. Here are a few ways the pandemicand its could impact your blood pressure:

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Low Blood Pressure Anxiety And More Hyperventilation

There are two factors that tend to contribute to the extent to which this drop in blood pressure occurs.

  • First, when a person hyperventilates, signals are sent to the body that it is not getting enough air, even though, in reality, it is getting too much. This tends to cause people to try to yawn or take deeper breaths, and unfortunately, this ends up making hyperventilation worse, and causing a further drop in blood pressure.
  • Second, hyperventilation and low blood pressure cause several symptoms that can worsen anxiety, and thus, worsen hyperventilation. When a person has low blood pressure, the heart beats faster and harder to compensate. This may cause a person to experience chest pains, and contribute to feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness. People may feel as though they may faint, and in some cases, this could occur. All of these physical symptoms can increase anxiety, increase hyperventilation, and continue to sustain a lower blood pressure.

In nearly all of these cases, the change in blood pressure tends to be temporary. Once a person is able to regain control of his or her breathing, the blood pressure levels should go back to normal. Sometimes, regaining control of breathing can take longer than other times.

Q What Can I Do To Prevent Low Blood Pressure

Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?
  • Consciousness towards diet and lifestyle can go a long way towards prevention. Mindfulness towards bodily movement would help reduce instances of giddiness due to postural hypotension as well. If hypotension is suspected due to medication, it is best to get a recommendation from your doctor regarding substitutes to prevent effects of low blood pressure such as weakness and fatigue.
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    Anxiety And Low Blood Pressure


    hi everyone….have finally decided to share as I have been using this site to get thru my crazy anxiety and all the symptoms that come with it! It’s exhausting and so frustrating! I get low blood pressure 110/63 and low heart beats when I’m having anxiety and panic! Not always but a lot! Does anyone else? Feels like my heart is just not beating at all! Been thru the ER visits..have the tingling face and lips… also pains on the top of left breast and behind my left ribs!!! Can’t sleep scared I’m gonna die! Have a enormous amount of stress in my life that I’m trying to control. But heck sometimes I think I’m having a good day and then BAM the ugly symptoms show up!!! Sometimes lasting for days! I just can’t take it anymore..I have Ativan and it does help but not always…. Hate taking meds! I know this can’t kill me but it sure feels like it! Going to c a cardiologist just to make sure as that’s about all that’s left on my list! Tried explaining it to family and friends but I just don’t want anyone to know! Maybe therapy is a good option? Please help! Crying in California….

    0 likes, 15 replies

    • 5 years ago

      Hi there,

      Your blood pressure is really not that low. Mine can be that as well/ Your heartrate is a tad low but not extreme. Do you consume any salt? My cardiologist just tells me to consume a little more salt. Or when it happens to me I drink a good amount of water and lay with my feet elevated

    Blood Pressure And Heart Rate

    Specially trained nurses measured blood pressure in seated participants, after four minutes or two minutes , with the cuff placed on the right upper arm, and with the arm rested on a table at heart-level. Cuff size was adjusted after measuring the arm circumference. At baseline, blood pressure was measured using calibrated mercury manometers with standard cuff size. The first pulse sound was registered as systolic blood pressure and the level at which the pulse disappeared as diastolic blood pressure. The measurements were repeated after two minutes, and the second reading was used in this study. At years 11 and 22, blood pressure was measured with a Dinamap 845XT based on oscillometry. Blood pressure was measured automatically three times at one-minute intervals. The mean of the second and third reading was used in this study. At HUNT 1, resting heart rate at the wrist was counted for 15 seconds or for 30 seconds if the heart was irregular. At HUNT 2 and 3, heart rate was measured by the Dinamap. Heart rate was expressed as beats/min.

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    Treating Anxiety And High Blood Pressure

    “If you are anxious because of something that is explainable such as job loss, it is a normal response, but if these feelings persist or if there is no reason for them, start by seeking help from your primary care physician,” Dr. Nambi suggests.

    You can treat anxiety with talk therapy, medication, and cognitive behavioral therapy , a type of therapy that works to change how you react and respond to triggers.

    Engaging in mindfulness meditation may also help reduce anxiety, and these benefits can be seen after your first session, according to research presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Physiological Society. The results were even more pronounced one week after the meditation session. Study participants also showed less mechanical stress on their arteries an hour after the session. “Treatment will allow you to have a better outlook toward life and take better care of yourself,” adds Dr. Virani.

    Treating and preventing high blood pressure is also important, says Guy L. Mintz, director of Cardiovascular Health & Lipidology at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, New York.

    • monitoring your blood pressure at home
    • exercising for 150 minutes each week
    • eating a heart-healthy diet with no added salt
    • maintaining an ideal weight

    “Hypertension is referred to as the silent killer because it has no symptoms,” Dr. Mintz says. “Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke and needs to be addressed early and effectively.”

    Hyperventilation And Low Blood Pressure

    10 Signs You Could Have Low Blood Pressure

    Hyperventilation occurs when a persons breathing pattern changes in a way that reduces his or her CO2 levels. The most common reason this occurs is when the rate of increases , which often happens during periods of intense anxiety. It may also occur when people recognize their breathing rate increases, and try to slow the breathing through taking in deeper breaths. The body has a way of regulating the levels of oxygen and CO2 that is needed, so when a person attempts to control their breathing rate, it not uncommon to take in too much air.

    Without enough carbon dioxide, the body has to work harder to function properly. Blood needs to move more quickly, and blood vessels dilate as a result. This dilation causes a drop in blood pressure but still may show up in a blood pressure reading.

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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.

    Learn more

    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

    Signs Of Stress Anxiety

    It’s also important to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety. These include difficulty sleeping, fatigue, persistent worry, gastrointestinal symptoms and muscle aches and pains.

    Controlling stress and anxiety is the best approach to controlling temporary spikes in blood pressure. Healthy practices like getting plenty of sleep, eating well, exercising and avoiding too much alcohol can help to keep anxiety in check, Stanley said.

    Beyond this, some people benefit from anxiety reducing techniques such as deep breathing, positive imagery and meditation or yoga. Others need to develop a new way of thinking to keep stress under control.

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    Gaps In Preventive Care

    When annual physicals, or optional surgeries are postponed to avoid exposure to the virus, its more likely that blood pressure that was once in check could start to spiral out of control. Dr. Ngo notes: Visit tracking showed a large drop in office visits during the peak of the pandemic and a corresponding bump in the percentage of patients with uncontrolled blood pressure. Along with the increase in stressful situations and uncertainties, blood pressure is spiking higher than usual during this period. Even self monitoring can be difficult for those who do not have home blood pressure monitors, as most pharmacies and retail stores have restricted access to these services during the pandemic.

    How Anxiety Affects Blood Pressure

    HBP 005- How stress causes High Blood Pressure
    • Anxiety has a complicated relationship to blood pressure.
    • Typically, blood pressure changes from anxiety are not dangerous unless you have a pre-existing condition.
    • We identify 4 different causes of blood pressure changes with anxiety.
    • Those that frequently monitor blood pressure may also be giving themselves anxiety.
    • Blood pressure varies throughout the day, even without anxiety, but an anxiety treatment plan offers a longer-term solution.

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    High Blood Pressure Facts

    What every adult should know about high blood pressure, or hypertension

    There’s a good reason why every doctor’s appointment starts with a blood pressure check. While one in three American adults has high blood pressure, about 20% of people are unaware that they have it because it is largely symptomless.

    In fact, most people find out they have high blood pressure during a routine office visit.

    Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is when that force is too high and begins harming the body. If left untreated, it willl eventually cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.

    Your blood pressure is measured in two numbers: The top systolic blood pressure measures the force pushing against artery walls when the heart is contracting. The bottom diastolic blood pressure measures pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats.

    Normal blood pressure levels are 120 mmHg/80 mmHg or lower. At risk levels are 120-139 mmHg/80-89 mmHg. Readings of 140 mmHg/90 mmHg or higher are defined as high blood pressure.

    Here are six other things you should know about high blood pressure.

    What Four Things Happen Right Before A Heart Attack

    Here are 4 signs of heart attack to be on the lookout for:

    • #1: Chest Pain, Pressure, Squeezing, and Fullness.
    • #2: Arm, Back, Neck, Jaw, or Stomach Pain or Discomfort.
    • #3: Shortness of Breath, Nausea, and Lightheadedness.
    • #4: Breaking Out in a Cold Sweat.
    • Heart Attack Symptoms: Women vs Men.
    • What Next?
    • Next Steps.

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    How Does Sudden Stress Lead To Heart Muscle Weakness

    When you experience a stressful event, your body produces hormones and proteins such as adrenaline and noradrenaline that are meant to help cope with the stress.

    The heart muscle can be overwhelmed by a massive amount of adrenaline that is suddenly produced in response to stress. Excess adrenaline can cause narrowing of the small arteries that supply the heart with blood, causing a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.

    Alternatively, the adrenaline may bind to the heart cells directly, causing large amounts of calcium to enter the cells. This large intake of calcium can prevent the heart cells from beating properly. It appears that adrenalines effects on the heart during broken heart syndrome are temporary and completely reversible the heart typically recovers fully within days or weeks.

    What should I do if I feel the symptoms of broken heart syndrome?

    If you experience heart-attack-like symptoms, call 911 immediately. If your symptoms are mild, please contact your doctor immediately.

    Blood Pressure Changes Can Cause Anxiety

    What causes high diastolic pressure? Symptoms and treatment

    It’s also possible for blood pressure to cause anxiety. Both low blood pressure and high blood pressure can cause changes in your heartbeat, dizziness and lightheadedness, and more. These symptoms can themselves create anxiety or trigger panic attacks, and that in turn may increase your anxiety. However, not everyone who suffers from high blood pressure experiences anxiety.

    Is it Dangerous When Anxiety Affects Blood Pressure?

    The greatest concern is whether or not your blood pressure changes are dangerous. The answer is a bit complicated. On the most basic level, affected blood pressure is not dangerous. Remember, random fluctuations happen all the time with no ill effects. Blood pressure is a symptom of an issue whether it’s anxiety or heart disease and not a cause of heart problems.

    Your heart rate and your blood pressure also may get a break with anxiety. The body is remarkable and adjusts to chronic conditions. Some people that experience anxiety for hours on end actually find that their blood pressure adjusts to that anxiety, which ultimately means that it goes back to a base level. High blood pressure changes tend to be fairly short term, and are most common in the early stages of anxiety or during panic attacks.

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