Blood Pressure And The Heart
Theres a reason why your blood pressure is taken every time you visit a doctors office or hospital, regardless of the complaint that brought you there. High blood pressure is rightly known as the silent killer. It often carries no symptoms or warning signs but can drastically increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The higher the number, the harder your heart is having to work to pump blood around your body and the more likely it is that damage is being done to the heart muscle. Since all parts of your body rely on circulation, though, its not just your heart that high blood pressure can impact. If blood doesnt flow easily, it can harm your arteries as well as vital organs such as the kidneys, eyes, and brain.
High blood pressure has been shown to damage the tiny blood vessels in the parts of your brain responsible for cognition and memory, greatly increasing your risk of developing Alzheimers disease or another dementia. Being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease can also take an emotional toll, affecting your outlook and making you more susceptible to anxiety and depression. And just as blood pressure may have an impact your mood, the reverse can also be true:
High Blood Pressure Medication
Don’t beat yourself up if lifestyle changes alone don’t get your blood pressure down to where it should be, Laffin says.
“Lifestyle changes only go so far, especially if your blood pressure is extremely high,” he says. “After a one- to three-month trial of lifestyle modifications, your doctor may consider adding medication, especially if you have other risk factors for heart disease or a family history of heart disease.”
There are many types of medication that can be used alone or in combination to treat high blood pressure. Each has risks and benefits that must be discussed with your doctor based on your health status. In general, side effects of blood pressure medicines may include cough, diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, fatigue, and/or headache.
Common blood pressure-lowering medications include:
Is It Anxiety Or A Blood Pressure Change
Identifying the difference between the symptoms of anxiety and blood pressure change can be challenging.
However, keep in mind that hypertension shows no symptoms .
Only low blood pressure is likely to show symptoms, which are usually the same as symptoms of anxiety.
You should see your doctor if symptoms persist.
Your doctor can diagnose the real cause of these symptoms and proffer a solution to your anxiety.
Don’t Miss: What Helps With Anxiety And Stress
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.
Lack Of Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to several health issues, including high blood pressure.
According to the AHA, physical activity can help a person lower their blood pressure. It can also improve their heart health and reduce their weight.
The AHA recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-intense physical activity, such as walking briskly, running, or bicycling.
Read Also: How To Deal With Stress During Pregnancy
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
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.
Read Also: What’s Good To Take For Stress
How To Treat High Blood Pressure
Lifestyle changes can benefit people with long term high blood pressure.
Your doctor should recommend a few of these:
- Eat healthily. Reduce salt
- Reduce alcohol to the extreme
- Exercise regularly
- Increased heart rate
High blood pressure is treatable. Anxiety is treatable. Not everyone with anxiety develops hypertension.
However, its best to seek help earlier to reduce the chances of complications from both conditions.
What Is High Blood Pressure
Your heart pumps blood through your valves, delivering throughout your body via your arteries. The amount of pressure that your blood exerts against the wall of your arteries coming from your heart determines your blood pressure.
If your heart is pumping more blood that your arteries can safely carry, it raises your blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the stress on your heart and arteries, which can be dangerous by itself and also increase the risk of other heart conditions. Its also possible to have high blood pressure for years and not know it. Uncontrolled, it can cause heart attacks and stroke.
Also Check: How To Calm Down Anxiety And Stress
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.
How Exactly Does Chronic Stress Affect Your Blood Pressure
Everyone experiences stress of some form during their life. Small instances of stress are normal for everyone, but leading a perpetually stressful life can start an onslaught of problems that can eventually lead to hypertension, and even worsen heart disease risk.During stressful situations, your body will produce a whole slew of hormones, such as adrenaline, to trigger your flight or fight response. This is the bodys automatic response to fear, and it can make your heart beat faster, and cause your blood pressure to rise. This temporary increase in stress can help you complete your task faster. But this response was meant for handling one-off physical dangers, rather than the constant psychological stressors that you live with.
In the short term, stress induces symptoms like sleep issues, racing heart , headaches, dizziness, and a gradual change in appetite. But these symptoms can escalate and become chronic, and eventually affect your other organ systems. Chronic stress manifests as:
- Sleep problems
- Stomach issues
- Headaches and body pains
When your body experiences these symptoms without any treatment, the condition can eventually lead to higher blood pressure. Since high BP doesnt show symptoms earlier on, you might miss out on getting the help that you need in time.
Read Also: How Can Stress Affect Your Pregnancy
Stress Effects On Blood Pressure
Blood pressure temporarily increases during stressful situations due to a surge of hormones that causes your blood vessels to narrow. While there is no current evidence showing that stress leads to long-term hypertension, it may lead to unhealthy habits.
As a result, these habits can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and more. For example, some people may start smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and eating unhealthily as a way to deal with stress.
In addition, the hormones the body releases during stressful situations may cause damage to your arteries, affecting your heart health. Even though theres no direct connection between stress and long-term hypertension, constant stress can indirectly impact your blood pressure levels.
Anxiety Causes Low Blood Pressure
What you may not know is that some forms of anxiety can cause low blood pressure as well. During periods of anxiety attacks, a person may start to hyperventilate. Hyperventilation occurs when the body gets too much oxygen through either fast breathing or taking breaths that are too deep.
Hyperventilation is known to cause drops in blood pressure that can lead to feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness. So while high blood pressure is more common during anxiety, low blood pressure may occur as well.
Don’t Miss: Can Stress Cause Liver Damage
How Do You Treat It
Since someone dealing with stress-related high blood pressure may also have other causes like dietary issues, obesity, and alcohol abuse, any treatment would be catered to the individual. Eating healthier, exercising more, and reducing alcohol can help with your overall health as well reducing problems with blood pressure, but there are also medications available.
Thiazide diuretics , angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers , and calcium channel blockers help to relax blood vessels and slow your heart beat. Alpha blockers, alpha beta blockers, and beta blockers can also help to open your blood vessels and slow your heartbeat.
So, stress can lead to blood pressure, but there are options available for treatment. If you’re stressing out and think you have blood pressure problems, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care today to get help.
You Might Also Enjoy…
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 can’t 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 it’s 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.”
Also Check: How Can You Relieve Stress
How Can You Get Your Blood Pressure Under Control
If stress and anxiety are whats causing your blood pressure fluctuations, its natural to think that anxiety medication is the best solution. While some research indicates that its useful in certain instances, its not considered a first line treatment. Instead, try these proven prescription and lifestyle changes to get things back under control.
Job Stress Poor Sleep Hypertension A Deadly Trio
MONDAY, April 29, 2019 — Job stress, high blood pressure and poor sleep may be a recipe for an early death, German researchers report.
In a study of nearly 2,000 workers with high blood pressure who were followed for almost 18 years, those who reported having both a stressful job and poor sleep were three times more likely to die from heart disease than those who slept well and didn’t have a trying job, the investigators found.
“As many as 50% of adults have high blood pressure,” said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
It’s a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and premature cardiovascular death, said Fonarow, who had no role in the new study.
“A number of studies have found associations between greater work stress and subsequent risk of cardiovascular events. Impairment in sleep has also been associated with increased risk,” he said. However, these associations did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
In the new study, the researchers reported that among people with high blood pressure , those who had work stress alone had a twofold higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, as did those who reported having poor sleep alone.
“Unfortunately, poor sleep and job stress often go hand in hand, and when combined with hypertension, the effect is even more toxic,” he added in a statement.
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology
You May Like: How To Relieve Stress In My Shoulders And Neck
Making The Exercise Habit Stick
Despite our best intentions, many of us struggle ditching our sedentary lifestyle. But there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and more fun.
Start small and build momentum. If exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week sounds overwhelming, set a smaller goal and gradually build up as you gain self-confidence and momentum.
Reward yourself. Once it becomes a regular habit, exercise will reward you with more energy, better sleep, a greater sense of well-being, and improved cardiovascular health. When youre starting out, though, give yourself a simple reward for successfully completing a workout, such as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.
Choose activities you enjoy. Youre more likely to stick with a workout you find pleasurable. If you hate running but like yoga or dancing, for example, dont force yourself onto the treadmill every day. Pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.
See How to Start Exercising and Stick to It to learn more.
The effects on your blood pressure
- 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking, for five days of the week can reduce your reading by 4 to 11 mm Hg.
Managing Stress To Improve Heart Health
In todays world, stress is unavoidable. But learning healthy ways to manage and reduce stress levels can improve your health and help lower your blood pressure.
Strive to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. Incorporating exercise into your routine offers an abundance of health benefits, including naturally lower blood pressure and lower stress levels.
Revisit your schedule to reduce stress in daily life. Try to give yourself plenty of time to finish important tasks so you dont feel rushed. If there are activities that take up time but theyre not essential, spend less energy on them or perhaps eliminate them completely.
Consider trying meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to calm your mind. These strategies not only reduce stress in the moment, but they can help you sleep better, which may also lower stress.
Dr. Grewal can make personalized recommendations to help you implement healthier lifestyle choices to improve heart health. If you have hypertension, a combination of lifestyle changes and medication can be very effective in reducing your risk of heart complications.
Its time to lower your stress levels and boost your heart health. Call our Cypress, Texas, office today at 281-477-0525 or schedule an appointment online to get started. We also offer telehealth appointments for your safety and convenience.
You Might Also Enjoy…
Does Stress Or Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure
Stress and anxiety cause the body to release hormones. They raise the heart rate and blood pressure. The effect is temporary. Doctors arent sure if constant stress leads to lasting high blood pressure. Constant high blood pressure is called hypertension.
Some studies suggest people with stress all the time are more likely to have lasting high blood pressure. People who are stressed are more likely to drink more alcohol, smoke more tobacco, and overeat. These unhealthy behaviors can lead to high blood pressure over time.
Answer this question to help us make PALS better.
This is incorrect.This is correct!This is incorrect.
Blood Pressure Can Increase
The stress response includes faster breathing and an increase in heart rate. Also, blood vessels constrict to be able to send more blood to your muscles so they can be ready to act. The result of these responses is higher blood pressure. If the stress response happens often, the effect on blood pressure can be significant. Hypertension can worsen and related risks, such as heart attacks and stroke, can increase as blood pressure does.
Don’t Miss: How Stress And Anxiety Affect The Body