Anxiety and high blood pressure often affect one another, but they should not be considered as the causing factor. When we experience stressful situations, we often feel anxious about the circumstances and in turn, it increases our blood pressure.
High blood pressure and anxiety can be considered symptoms of each other. Experiencing high blood pressure can trigger anxiety, and anxiety may sometimes lead to an increase in blood pressure.
In this article, we will discuss if anxiety raise blood pressure, can high blood pressure cause anxiety, the symptoms of low blood pressure and anxiety, their changes, and treatments that can be done.
Can Anxiety Raise Blood Pressure?
Anxiety doesn’t cause chronic high blood pressure. It can, however, release stress hormones which result in narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate.
When both of these changes occur, it causes high blood pressure.
Your body goes into fight-or-flight mode when you start to feel anxious as a result of a stressful scenario. Adrenaline and cortisol levels rise in fight-or-flight mode, which can contribute to an increase in blood pressure.
Early detection of anxiety and treating it is important to ensure you can prevent hypertension. Research shows that people with intense anxiety are more prone to hypertension.
Anxiety-induced typically raises your blood pressure which is usually just brief and disappears once the anxiety subsides.
High amounts of stress on a regular basis, on the other hand, can harm the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys in the same way just like long-term hypertension.
Changes in anxiety-related hormones can lead to increased fat accumulation in the long run, especially around the abdomen.
Anxiety can also cause behavioral changes in people, such as worrying and stress eating, which can lead to hypertension indirectly.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Anxiety?
In some cases, people who are diagnosed with hypertension worry about their health and overall wellness more often than regular people. With constant worry, it can result in anxiety and result in symptoms of hypertension.
Here are some of the symptoms that you may notice:
- Buzzing in the ears
- Vision changes
- Irregular heart rhythm
Anxiety can also be a side effect of severe hypertension. If a person has severe anxiety and other symptoms like shortness of breath or headache, they should seek medical help right away.
Research shows that people with pulmonary arterial hypertension have a higher chance of experiencing panic and stress disorders. Individuals experiencing both of these are often untreated.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to a perceived threat, and it is something that we all go through from time to time. Being anxious activates your natural fight-or-flight response which may result in the following experiences:
- Rapid heart rate
- Dread or panic
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Muscle twitches
- Tingling or numbness
- Trembling or shaking
- Hot flashes or chills
- Vomiting or nausea
- Poor concentration
- Fatigue or weakness
- Derealization or depersonalization
In some cases, people with an underlying anxiety disorder will have chronic anxiety which may include the following:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Generalized anxiety
- Specific phobias
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What is High Blood Pressure?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a chronic condition in which blood pressure levels are higher than usual.
Chronic high blood pressure is extremely dangerous and can harm the body’s organs, particularly the eyes, brain, heart, and kidneys.
There are two categories of hypertension:
1. Primary Hypertension
This is the most frequent type of hypertension, as it develops without a clear reason. Primary hypertension is assumed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
2. Secondary Hypertension
This type of hypertension has a well-known cause, which is frequently another underlying illness. This condition affects the heart, kidney, or thyroid and is a common cause of secondary hypertension.
Anxiety, it turns out, can also produce white coat hypertension, a sort of elevated blood pressure. This type occurs when your blood pressure is normal but rises because of certain medical worries in a medical situation, such as a doctor’s office.
Blood Pressure Changes or Anxiety?
It’s not always easy to tell the difference between changes in blood pressure and anxiety. In most cases, hypertension does not result in symptoms.
This indicates that a person’s blood pressure should be tested on a frequent basis.
Low blood pressure can cause symptoms that are comparable to when you experience anxiety. If a person isn’t sure if their symptoms are caused by low blood pressure or anxiety, they should consult a physician.
People with severe or repeated symptoms of both changes in blood pressure and anxiety should immediately contact their doctor.
A doctor will be able to determine the basic cause of the symptoms and prescribe any therapies that are required.
Treatment for Anxiety
Whether you’re experiencing anxiety or constant changes in your blood pressure, it’s important that you seek help from a professional. Here are some treatments that you can get when you have an anxiety disorder:
There are several medications that you can get to relieve the symptoms you’re experiencing during anxiety attacks. Take note that these medications can work differently depending on the person taking them.
- Specific antidepressants
- Beta-blockers that can help slow down a person’s heart
- Buspirone which is considered an anti-anxiety drug
- Benzodiazepines which is considered a sedative medication to relieve short-term anxiety attacks
People with anxiety can relieve its symptoms by working with a psychotherapist.
One of the most successful types of psychotherapy for anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT teaches people how to adjust their thinking habits in order to minimize anxiety and worry.
Individuals learn anxiety-management methods and are gradually exposed to events that provoke it throughout CBT. In these instances, the person will feel less afraid and worried as a result of this.
Depending on the nature and gravity of the anxiety disorder, several treatment options may be considered.
Exposure treatment, for example, can help with certain phobias, while interactive therapy and trauma-focused therapy, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), can help with PTSD.
An individual can also reduce anxiety by changing their lifestyle. Here are some of the things that you can do:
- Practicing mindfulness
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding drugs
- At least 20 minutes of exercise per day
- Eating a healthy and nutritious balanced diet
- Learning a new skill
- Setting rewards and goals
- Having at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day
- Having a support system
- Using affirmations to change negative thoughts to positive ones
Treatment for High Blood Pressure
A doctor may prescribe a treatment plan for someone with hypertension. This treatment approach may include dietary changes, medication, or a combination of the two.
To lower blood pressure, a person might undertake a variety of lifestyle adjustments.
- Reducing salt intake
- Regular exercise
- Maintaining a regular and moderate weight
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol
- Switching to a heart-healthy diet which includes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
- Quitting smoking
- Getting good-quality sleep
- Managing stress
Some of the medications that you can take to treat your high blood pressure may include:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors prevents your blood vessels to narrow too much
- Calcium channel blockers relaxes your blood vessels
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) completely stops your blood vessels from narrowing
- Diuretics which remove sodium and excess water from your body
A person’s pharmaceutical needs are determined by a number of factors, including the severity of their hypertension and overall health.
To keep their blood pressure under control, some people may require more than one type of medicine.
Can Anxiety Treatment Affect Your Blood Pressure?
Anxiety medications can assist to lower general anxiety levels, which can help to lower blood pressure. Some anxiety treatments, on the other hand, may result in an increase in blood pressure.
Keep track of any changes in your blood pressure if you’re experiencing high blood pressure and have just started taking anxiety medication. This can help your physician figure out if any of your drugs need to be changed.
Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?
Anxiety is a stress reaction. Hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released in response to stress. The “fight-or-flight” response is triggered by these hormones, which prepares the body to either run or confront the perceived threat.
Some of the things you’ll experience when you’re stressed are:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
The body systems of a person should return to normal once they have coped with their stress. Long-term stress, on the other hand, can lead to health issues such as:
- Increase in fats in the blood
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Memory issues
- Inability to make decisions
- Lack of sleep
- Weakened immune system
- Weight gain
- Stomach pain
Anxiety and high blood pressure can affect each other and vice versa. Once you start experiencing either of the two, it’s important that you immediately take your medication or seek help to ensure that you can control its symptoms.
Learn how to differentiate each of them in order for you to seek help the right way.