Tend To Mental Stress
Mental stress is a significant cause of anxiety. Our minds fixate on specific people, jobs, and obsessive ticks. Dwelling on these situations is what causes anxiety. They also promote blood pressure spikes.
The most effective way to manage daily stress is to start your day off with backup.Tranquility Labs’ Tranquilene Total Calm. This all-natural supplement contains calming herbs that support mental clarity. In addition, it contains GABA.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that promotes a relaxed mindset. These effects are amplified by the amino acid L-theanine. Derived from green tea, this stimulant enhances GABA activity within 15 minutes.
This formula is also enriched with niacinamide, Vitamin D3, and tryptophan. All of these are necessary for our bodies to convert 5-HTP into serotonin. Remember we mentioned earlier, medications that improve serotonin levels may have side effects that lead to hypertension.
You must also take moments for yourself throughout the day. Exercise regularly, including short walks in the middle of the workday.
Incorporate deep-breathing techniques as stress mounds. Lastly, practice yoga to work out any anxious energy and find your inner peace.
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.
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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You Shouldnt Ignore White Coat Hypertension
Some people experience white coat hypertension, when blood pressure is elevated in the doctorâs 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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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 Happens To Your Blood Pressure When Youre Anxious
So, what causes your blood pressure to spike when youre worried or stressed? How do anxiety and high blood pressure affect each other? It can all be traced to how your body utilizes hormones. When youre in a stressful situation, your body produces several hormonesincluding adrenaline and cortisol. As a result, your heart rate increases, which temporarily raises your blood pressure.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder And Hypertension
GAD is characterized by worry about everyday things. Individuals with GAD tend to worry excessively about work or school performance, or about health-related issues.
They may also have an unhelpful pattern of dialing 911 or going to the doctor for every little problem. People with GAD are often very active and tense, making it difficult for them to relax.
This frenetic energy is largely due to higher levels of cortisol in the body.
While GAD is associated with high blood pressure, its important to note that anxiety can also cause high blood pressure in individuals who dont have high blood pressure to begin with.
Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder have a higher risk of developing hypertension. This is because the stress that you experience from anxiety can negatively affect your bodys ability to manage blood pressure.
Anxiety disorders are common, and it has been found that about 18% of individuals with generalized anxiety disorder also have high blood pressure. This means that if you struggle with an anxiety disorder, there is also a good chance that you also suffer from hypertension.
Individuals with GAD are at a higher risk of developing hypertension compared to individuals without the disorder. Why this is the case is unclear. One hypothesis is that people with GAD are more likely to develop diet-related diseases, including obesity and type II diabetes.
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Making Changes If You Have Anxiety Or Depression
If your high blood pressure is co-occurring with a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety, it can be even tougher to find the energy and motivation to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Just thinking about exercising or preparing a healthy meal, for example, can seem overwhelming. But by focusing all your efforts on one tiny change at a time, youll find that youre capable of more than you realized.
Take the first step. It could be as simple as going for a walk or downloading a meditation app or buying some nicotine patches. It can take time for lifestyle changes to register as a reduction in blood pressurebut sometimes they can improve your mood much sooner. Taking that first step is always the hardest.
Focus on small steps. Its easy to get overwhelmed by daily life when youre battling depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder. By taking small but positive steps each day, though, youll find that your energy and outlook will gradually start to improve. Once you feel happier and more positive, youll find it easier to forge ahead with lifestyle changes and see the results in both your blood pressure readings and your overall outlook and wellbeing.
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Differences Between Anxiety And High Blood Pressure
1. RootAnxiety disorders and high blood pressure are two very different health conditions. High blood pressure involves your heart and arteries and the flow of your blood. Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses that affect your mind.
2. SymptomsThe symptoms of both of these disorders are also very different. Anxiety disorders cause an intense feeling of fear, heart palpitations, and clammy hands and feet are common symptoms. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, typically causes no symptoms at all.
3. Hand In HandOne important thing to understand about anxiety and high blood pressure is the link that they have to each other. Anxiety can cause high blood pressure. This is because of the stress and tension that anxiety disorders cause on the body, which raises blood pressure.
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The Effect Of Anxiety On The Heart
When someone is anxious, their body reacts in ways that can put an extra strain on their heart. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be especially damaging among individuals with existing cardiac disease.
Anxiety may have an association with the following heart disorders and cardiac risk factors:
- Rapid heart rate In serious cases, can interfere with normal heart function and increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
- Increased blood pressure If chronic, can lead to coronary disease, weakening of the heart muscle, and heart failure.
- May result in higher incidence of death after an acute heart attack.
Early Diagnosis And Treatment Is Vital
The force of high blood pressure damages the lining of the arteries, which allows bad low-density lipoprotein cholesterol plaques to set up camp, potentially blocking blood flow and causing a heart attack or stroke. The more plaque and damage, the narrower the insides of the arteries.
You cant feel high blood pressureso the only way to know you have it is to get tested. This information will give you a running start against the consequences of uncontrolled high blood pressure.
We need to be hyper-vigilant about high blood pressure because its a silent killer, says Mike Farbaniec, a cardiologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Make sure you see your doctor when you are in your 30s to 50s. If you hit prevention hard then, you are less likely to be sick in your 60s and 70s.
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Can Anxiety Cause Hypertension
Because anxiety can cause symptoms like a pounding heart, many believe that anxiety can result in blood pressure issues like hypertension.
While some studies do show a link between anxiety and risk for high blood pressure, many others do not.
A recent study of over 17,000 subjects in Norway found little evidence to support the suggestion that anxiety causes hypertension.
In fact, the study demonstrated that the opposite is actually true.
Findings showed that anxiety and depression was actually associated with lowered blood pressure.
So what does this mean?
Anxiety is a form of stress, and stress can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure.
This is because your body reacts to stress by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure during a fight-or-flight response, preparing you to face the danger you perceive.
A 2021 study demonstrates that the fewer resources you feel that you have to deal with the stressful situation, the more likely you are to have a greater blood pressure spike.
However, its unlikely that these temporary spikes in blood pressure when anxious will directly lead to high blood pressure issues later in life.
Pay attention, instead, to other factors that are proven to put you at risk for hypertension.
- Diet: Eating a high-carbohydrate low-fat diet increases your risk of developing hypertension.
- Genetics and Family History: A child of hypertensive parents often has a greater risk for developing high blood pressure.
Find A Safe Anxiety Medication For Hypertension
There are medications that can treat anxiety without negatively impacting your blood pressure. Ask your healthcare provider if hydroxyzine, a beta blocker, SSRI, or benzodiazepine could help your mood, along with your hypertension. Some anti-anxiety medications, like diazepam, might even bring down your blood pressure. Diazepam is a controlled substance, requiring frequent doctor visits and may cause addiction. So, diazepam is only used as a last resort.
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How Much Does Anxiety Raise Bp
Anxiety can raise blood pressure by 10 points. That might not sound like much, but its significant enough to make a difference. When your systolic blood pressure is 140 and your diastolic blood pressure is 90, a 10-point increase on both would put you at 150/100. If that continues unchecked, your heart and other organs might not be able to function properly.
In one study, participants with a generalized anxiety disorder had higher BP than people who did not have the disorder. However, the study also found that participants with GAD were more likely to use drugs to control their BP.
This may have led to a false-positive result. In another study, individuals with high levels of anxiety had increased systolic blood pressure but not diastolic blood pressure. This suggests that high levels of anxiety elevate your heart rate but dont affect your overall blood pressure.
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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.