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.
Anxiety Disorders: What You Need To Know
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions which are similarly defined by intense negative feelings of anxiety, unease or panic.
There are subtypes of anxiety disorder, each of which can have overlapping symptoms panic disorder, for instance, may include milder anxiety, while mild anxiety may occasionally include a sense of severe panic.
Restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, feeling regularly on edge or wound-up, increases in blood pressure, experiencing difficulty concentrating, patterns of irritability and uncontrollable worry are all symptoms.
And those symptoms should be felt most days for at least six months for a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder .
Anxietys true nature isnt fully understood, but we do know that this mood disorder is caused by imbalances of brain chemicals.
There is no cure for anxiety, but we do have ways of treating it, which well get to shortly.
But lets talk about one symptom in more depth: blood pressure increases.
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.
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When To See A Doctor
If a person who monitors their blood pressure at home does not see lower readings despite implementing lifestyle changes, they should get in touch with a doctor to determine the underlying cause of their high blood pressure.
A person should seek immediate medical attention if they get two readings of 180/120 mm Hg or higher within a 5-minute period, especially if they are experiencing a headache or nosebleed.
How Does Stress Affect Your Overall Health
Feeling stressed for a long time can affect your mood and how well you sleep, and sometimes people take on unhealthy ways of coping, such as smoking, drinking alcohol or eating too much. These can lead to health problems in the future including raised blood pressure, clogged up arteries, heart disease and stroke.
Look out for the early signs of stress, like sweating, loss of appetite, headaches, poor concentration and feeling irritable or worried, so you can see if you need to make changes and find ways to manage it.
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Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America , anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million adults every year in the United States. Anxiety can cause a wide range of physical symptoms, including an increase in blood pressure levels.
Although anxiety isnt linked to chronic high blood pressure, both short-term and chronic anxiety may cause your blood pressure to spike.
In this article, well explore the link between anxiety and high blood pressure and treatment options for both.
doesnt cause chronic high blood pressure. However, it can lead to a short-term increase in blood pressure.
When you begin to feel anxious because of a stressful situation, your body enters fight-or-flight mode. This happens due to the activation of your sympathetic nervous system. During fight-or-flight mode, your adrenaline and cortisol levels rise, both of which can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Although stress and anxiety can cause high blood pressure, its only temporary, and levels generally return to normal once youve calmed down again.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a chronic condition that occurs when blood pressure levels are elevated. Chronic high blood pressure can be quite dangerous and can cause significant damage to the body, especially the brain, heart, kidneys, and eyes.
Hypertension is classified into two categories:
Just like anxiety can cause temporary high blood pressure, high blood pressure can sometimes cause anxiety.
Does Stress Cause High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is a condition that currently affects millions of adults. Roughly 37 million people deal with uncontrolled hypertension, and it caused or contributed to nearly half a million deaths in 2018 alone. Hypertension increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and it can be caused by many factors, including poor diet, alcohol abuse, obesity, and smoking. Stress is commonly linked with hypertension, but what is the link?
If youre having problems controlling your blood pressure and you live in the Little River, South Carolina area, help is available. Dr. Rogers Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care offer medical help for high blood pressure and many other conditions for you and your whole family.
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Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure Or Hypertension
Its really important to distinguish between high blood pressure and hypertension. People have a tendency to speak of them as being the same thing, when its only partially true. Hypertension is chronic high blood pressure. High blood pressure by itself isnt necessarily bad, whereas hypertension is.
Does stress cause hypertension by itself? The simple answer is, No. There isnt any research currently that ties stress directly to hypertension . The keyword there is, directly.
So, can stress cause high blood pressure? There is a vast amount of research on the fact that stress raises your blood pressure. Its one of the effects of the hormones released in response to stress it constricts your blood vessels and raises your heart rate.
When you get stressed, your blood pressure goes up. Its normal! However, higher blood pressure does not equate to hypertension. It requires persistent, long-term, high blood pressure for it to be considered hypertension. This can happen in any number of ways.
For example, if you dont have a good paying job, there is stress over paying bills and putting food on the table.
You might live in a neighborhood prone to violent activity such that you dont feel safe walking down the street.
Your boss is pushing you to do work within a timeframe that is nearly impossible to achieve.
You can see how easy it might be to actually feel stress for a good portion of the day, and have very little opportunity to let your body get back to normal.
Treating Anxiety: Medication And Therapy
There are several approved treatments for anxiety that you should consider, and in many cases it will be recommended that you employ more than one for the most effective anxiety management.
Lets start with prescription medications, which are generally considered the go-to solution these days. Typically, the primary medication for treating anxiety disorders are actually antidepressants.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs are the most often prescribed, but other medications like SNRIs will sometimes be employed if SSRIs are ineffective.
Theres also therapy, which is frequently recommended as a parallel treatment with medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps anxiety disorder sufferers to recognize their disordered thought patterns, which may otherwise let anxiety control your life.
CBT can create coping strategies to mitigate future anxiety or panic attacks. For more, check out our guide, What Is Psychotherapy & How Does It Work?.
Healthcare providers may also ask you to address diet, regular exercise and even substance abuse or alcohol intake issues, which may be making your anxiety worse addressing those issues could alleviate some anxiety symptoms, including blood pressure issues.
The link between anxiety and cardiovascular diseases may not be perfect, but its more than enough to tell us that anxiety isnt good for your health, long or short term.
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High Diastolic Blood Pressure Symptoms
High blood pressure does not typically cause notable symptoms. The AHA note that the common belief that high blood pressure will cause sweating, facial flushing, or a feeling of nervousness is a myth.
However, a person may experience nosebleeds or headaches if they are in a state of hypertensive crisis. If a person gets two blood pressure readings of 180/120 mm Hg or higher, with 5 minutes between the readings, they should contact 911 or seek emergency medical attention.
A person may have high blood pressure for years before they experience any complications. Some possible indirectly related symptoms include:
2016 study state that more research is necessary to understand exactly how anxiety raises blood pressure and why it only happens in some people, especially in young adults.
One suggestion is that mental stress may activate a particular part of the nervous system that triggers a cascade of hormones, which interfere with how the body regulates blood pressure.
You Have High Blood Pressure Now What
Gallery: Why Am I Spotting?
If you have high blood pressure, lifestyle changes are in order, says Luke Laffin, cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. This starts with eating a heart-healthy diet that is low in salt, engaging in regular physical activity, and losing weight if necessary.
Many heart doctors recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan, which is designed to lower blood pressure. In addition to limiting sodium, it also calls for cutting back on red meat and added sugar.
Exercise is also important. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. All exercise is good, of course, but moderate aerobic activitylike brisk walking, jogging, or using an elliptical traineris best for lowering blood pressure, says Laffin.
“Losing weight is one of the best things you can do for high blood pressure, and the more weight you lose, the greater the decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure,” says Farbaniec.
Other lifestyle changes
“Smoking is the biggest risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack,” he adds. If you smoke, quit.
As for alcohol, moderation is key, says Farbaniec. This means no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one a day for women.
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Don’t Be Too Concerned
High blood pressure spikes can be a concern in those with heart disease, but are generally harmless in those without. Still, you never want to deal with too much high blood pressure. Hypertension can put stress on your heart and possibly damage your blood vessels. That’s why even though there isn’t necessarily any danger to experiencing these blood pressure spikes, you should still make reducing your anxiety a priority.
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Are Some People More Prone To Anxiety Than Others
Thats a difficult question, and theres no one correct answer.
Generally, both physical and psychological factors cause everyone to react to stress differently.
For example, genetics can play a role. Some genes that control the stress response may go into overdrive while for other people, they are under reactive.
Those who experience traumatic life events or are survivors of abuse may be more vulnerable to stress.
Still others may have a combination of factors.
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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.
Limit alcohol, dont overeat and dont smoke.
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.
Change Your Diet Patterns
As we mentioned, chronic stress plays a significant role in high blood pressure and anxiety symptoms. Many of us are aware of the mental aspect of stress. However, the physical is just as important, especially for hypertension development.
Cut back on processed foods, fast food, and excess animal fats. Many of these items are prepared with too many omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6s cause mental and physical and stress.
First, they can promote brain inflammation that leads to Alzheimer’s Disease. Furthermore, excess omega-6s can clog arteries, making it harder for blood vessels to travel. In turn, too many omega-6s can increase the risk of heart disease.
Eat leaner proteins, such as wild-caught fish, tofu, nuts, and seeds. These are rich in omega-3s that can bypass the blood-brain barrier to prevent inflammation. Supplement with Tranquility Labs’ CogniDHA for extra support!
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Blood Pressure Is Linked To Other Medical Issues
High blood pressure can be the first indication of a serious underlying condition. When a patient comes in with high blood pressure, doctors will check their urine and kidney function do an electrocardiogram to check the size of the heart and look for lung changes.
Stress on the blood vessels makes people with hypertension more prone to heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and aneurysms. Correspondingly, chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, sleep apnea and high cholesterol increase the risk for developing high blood pressure.
In some women, pregnancy can contribute to high blood pressure, leading to preeclampsia. Postpartum blood pressure typically goes back to normal levels within six weeks. However, some women who have high blood pressure during more than one pregnancy may be more likely to develop high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases as they age.
Some of these medical issues can also cause spikes in high blood pressure .
The Link Between Stress And Hypertension
When taken alone, stress cant cause you to have high blood pressure. Age, race, weight, and certain habits all are factors that contribute to hypertension.
Stressful situations may play a part in some of these contributing factors. For instance, you may smoke to relieve stress or eat unhealthy foods when youre feeling strained.
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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.
Taking Care Of Yourself When Stressed
When were stressed, we typically dont take good care of ourselves.
Theres a reason they call it comfort food. For most people, chocolate or fast food seems to be the first thing they reach for when were stressed.
Stress also makes it tempting to put off your regular exercise routine in favor of the couch and a Netflix binge.
These can all become deciding factors in a spike in blood sugar.
Need a solution? Get moving when youre stressed. Dont feel like you have to complete an extensive cardio routine. Often something as simple as a walk around the block can make a difference in your mood.
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High Blood Pressure May Cause Anxiety
Whether or not high blood pressure directly causes anxiety is less clear. More often than not, anxiety causes high blood pressure first, which causes the person to worry about their blood pressure and ultimately experience more anxiety.
It’s possible that high blood pressure does cause anxiety, but most likely the anxiety is a response to the high blood pressure experience, or to concerns over a person’s health. Most people can’t feel their blood pressure because high blood pressure on its own doesn’t cause any symptoms. But some of the other causes of high blood pressure may cause a person to feel more anxiety.
High Blood Pressure: Symptoms Treatments And Causes
If you’ve been told that you have high blood pressure, you’re not alone. Far from it, actually.
Almost 1 in 4 Canadian adults are affected by high blood pressure , and almost half of them don’t have it well controlled.
With high blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. When it goes undiagnosed and/or untreated, high blood pressure can dramatically increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and vision problems by damaging blood vessels.
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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.