Stress Raises Blood Pressure Risks Of Heart Attack And Stroke Study Says
A new study shows stress can lead to high blood pressure.
The information may sound familiar, but most previous studies have focused on the effect of stress on existing hypertension.
The new study from Kyoto University in Japan suggests stress can cause the condition over time.
It can also increase your risk for stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
Scientists say the reverse is also true. Reducing stress can lower the same risk factors.
According to the researchers, the key is to recognize stressful situations early and begin reducing them with breathing and relaxation techniques before they produce excess cortisol in your system.
Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body deal with stressful situations, but long-term increased levels can cause the problems outlined by the scientists.
The study was published in Circulation, a scientific journal of the American Heart Association.
Anxiety Or Calm Can Cause False Blood Pressure Readings
Medical professionals have long known that blood pressure measured in a doctors office may not match your true normal blood pressure. This may be due to one of two conditions that cause false readings, and recent research shows that both call for more consistent and accurate blood pressure monitoring.
When stress and anxiety caused by a clinic or hospital visit lead to higher-than-normal blood pressure readings, the effect is known as white coat hypertension , or white coat syndrome, named for the coats doctors wear. WCH occurs in about one in five people. Its not necessarily a response to being in the presence of a doctor or nurse the anxiety that some people have before and during a medical visit can trigger the syndrome.
The other condition, known as masked hypertension, is the opposite of WCH. Masked hypertension occurs when people normally have high blood pressure but it doesnt show up when measured in the doctors office.
WCH can lead to an incorrect misdiagnosis of high blood pressure and overmedication. It also may indicate that the persons blood pressure tends to rise when he or she has anxiety for other reasons. Masked hypertension, on the other hand, can prevent needed treatment for high blood pressure.
Changes in Guidelines
The researchers also discovered that many adults suffer from masked hypertension.
Muntner says accurate readings are important for getting the correct treatment.
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 To Reduce Anxiety
First, lets be clear: If youre experiencing anxiety, we want to know about it. We care about much more than your physical health. We know that mental health is an important part of your overall well-being.
We care about our patients, and we are always in your corner, ready to help you.
Following are some useful tips for reducing anxiety:
- Any type of physical activity, even if its just a quick walk around the block during your lunch break.
- Reducing or eliminating your alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Getting enough sleep
If your anxiety continues for more than two weeks or if youre finding it difficult to complete everyday activities, you should consider talking to a counselor or psychologist who can provide help and direction. We can provide a referral if needed.
Combinations Of Factors Can Impact Blood Pressure
There are certain combinations of factors that appear to greatly increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. For example, stress can interrupt your sleep, and the combination of poor sleep and high blood pressure together raise your risk of heart attack or stroke. There also seems to be evidence that the hormones associated with stress can damage your blood vessels, which in turn, may lead to heart disease. Even though scientists dont know exactly how stress and blood pressure are related, its clear that stress can have a dramatic effect on blood pressure.
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Dealing With Diabetes Can Cause Anxiety
Lets face it: Controlling diabetes is hard work. That in itself is enough to cause worry and stress. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, those with diabetes are 20 percent more likely to experience anxiety than those without the disease.
We understand this, and were dedicated to helping alleviate your worry by working together as a team to address any distressing issues.
Managing Stress In Your Life
No one can lead a stress-free life. Youre going to encounter stressful situations. The question is, how do you protect your health? One of the first steps you can take is to identify what is causing you stress. Often the things that cause you stress are outside of your control, but sometimes, you can make a decision that will help limit the stress in your life. For example, you may be able to take on fewer commitments, simplify your schedule, or leave time for more pleasurable or relaxing activities. If you cant control the things that are causing your stress, you may be able to learn coping skills that can limit the impact of stress on your life and health. Some useful coping strategies include:
- Making sure your diet is nutritious and well-balanced
- Exercising regularly
- Spending time with family and friends
- Participating in hobbies or pleasurable activities
If you have high blood pressure and a high level of stress, book an appointment online or over the phone to discuss your situation with the staff at Walker Family Care. We may be able to help you identify ways of reducing stress, and we can monitor your blood pressure.
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Ways To Reduce Stress And Keep Blood Pressure Down
When it comes to preventing and treating high blood pressure, one often-overlooked strategy is managing stress. If you often find yourself tense and on-edge, try these seven ways to reduce stress.
For more information on lifestyle changes to treat high blood pressure and how to choose the right medication if needed, read , a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
On High Blood Pressure
Your heart is always hard at work, pumping blood through your body and supplying oxygen to your tissues and organs. Your veins and arteries are designed to be soft and flexible so that blood flow happens seamlessly.
When your blood pressure is high for long periods at a time, your veins start to harden from plaque buildup. Your veins slowly lose their flexibility, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood through your body. This creates a cycle that makes your blood pressure worse and worse.
Consequences of high blood pressure include:
- Damage to your kidneys
- More vulnerability to suffering a heart attack
- Increased risk of heart disease
High blood pressure does not have any symptoms. Its often called the silent killer because many patients dont know they have it until they suffer a serious medical event, like a stroke or heart attack.
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How Does Stress Affect The Body
Everyone feels stress at different times in their life. But its when those pressures go unaddressed and build up over time that were left with chronic stress, explains Dr. Michael Kayal, a cardiologist at Geisinger Community Medical Center, which can show up in the body as physical symptoms.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Sleep problems
- Heart palpitations
- Body aches
Chronic stress, if left untreated, can also lead to higher blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is a common side effect of stress. And because high blood pressure doesnt typically cause symptoms, when it happens, we often have no idea, Dr. Kayal says.
Over a prolonged period, untreated high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing heart disease or put you at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
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?
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Give Yourself The Gift Of A Healthy Lifestyle
Engage in physical activity regularly. Do what you enjoy walk, swim, ride a bike or jog to get your muscles going. Letting go of the tension in your body will help you feel better.
Relaxing for short periods during your workday, at night and on weekends may help lower your blood pressure. Another great stress-buster is to get regular physical activity.
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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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.
Assessing The Reliability And Validity Of The Optic Sensor
We assessed the optic sensorâs reliability and validity by recruiting 123 participants to take part in a multimethod study that required frequent BP measurements in the laboratory and field using both the phone-based optic sensor and a Food and Drug Administration-approved BP cuff . We assessed BP measurements from the two devices near simultaneously on opposite arm and hand to allow for temporal precision. Sample characteristics, detailed procedures, and additional analyses are available as supplemental materials . Data, syntax, and supplemental material are available online .
Across both the laboratory and field, there was moderate to strong agreement between the optic sensor and the cuff. Distributions, descriptive values, and correlations for the primary BP measurement are shown in and additional descriptive and correlational analyses are in SI Appendix, Fig. S1 and Tables S1âS7.
Regression estimates and 95% confidence bands for emotions predicting BP and HR reactivity. Regression lines are shown separately for four emotion types: high-arousal negative emotion high-arousal positive emotion low-arousal negative emotion and low-arousal positive emotion.
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Continuous Stress And Blood Pressure
As a primary care physician, I am definitely seeing people dealing with uncontrolled hypertension related to the effects of COVID-19, Dr. Flowers explains what shes seen in her practice. First of all, there is a natural rise in our fear of the unknown, which leads to more people being anxious or nervous. Secondly, people have had to deal with the rapid deaths of family members, friends, coworkers, and associates due to the pandemic, and this also creates anxiety and depression.
There is widespread uncertainty about what the future holds, along with major stressors such as financial instability, social isolation, and restrictions on daily activities, which have all contributed to a rise in hypertension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Flowers says.
Its also worth noting that its possible the pandemic is causing new high blood pressure spikes in patients without a pre-existing hypertension diagnosis.
The global pandemic has caused major changes in peoples lives both from a social and economic standpoints, explains Paris Sabo, MD, a breast cancer surgeon in Beverly Hills and co-founder of Dr. Brite. These are major causes of stress and anxiety. Even though these feelings are not the cause of chronic high blood pressure, they can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure, even in healthy people.
Anxiety And Low Blood Pressure
Occasionally, anxiety works in the opposite way, causing a reduction in blood pressure.
This drop may occur because, during periods of intense anxiety, some people take very shallow breaths. The blood vessels then become wider, reducing blood pressure.
A 2011 study identified an association between the symptoms of anxiety and depression and a decrease in blood pressure, especially in people who have experienced a high level of anxiety symptoms over a prolonged period of decades.
This relationship also seems to work in both directions as low blood pressure, or hypotension, may sometimes cause anxiety and panic. Its symptoms can be similar to those of anxiety and include:
- blurred vision
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Give Yourself A Break
Now is not the time to be hard on yourself. Maybe youre frustrated because a household renovation project wasnt started or that youve already violated your New Years resolutions. When youre feeling overwhelmed, thats the perfect indicator that youre ready for a break.
Take deep breaths or do something you enjoy for a few minutes before jumping back into your workload or projects.
What Happens When Youre Under Stress
When you feel stress, your heart rate quickens, your body releases a surge of adrenaline and cortisol, and your blood vessels constrict. All of these reactions are supposed to be short-lived, and when they are, there are no health repercussions.
But, when you live stressed for days at a time, things become more complicated. Some of the known effects of stress include:
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Heart disease
The link between high blood pressure and chronic stress isnt clearly understood, but studies have shown that the two are connected.
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How To Overcome Affected Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is specifically monitored by your brain to ensure that your body is operating at an ideal level. Temporary spikes in blood pressure can cause concerns, but your body creates them for a reason.
It is important to make sure you learn to manage your anxiety to help ensure healthy blood pressure. Whether you have panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc., you still need to make sure that you’re treating your anxiety in order to also treat your anxiety-related high blood pressure.
Anxiety typically makes blood pressure increase, and in some cases can make blood pressure decrease. However, blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day with or without anxiety. It is best to not be too concerned with ones own blood pressure, and instead focus on anxiety reduction.
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