Are There Other Links Between Anxiety And Low Blood Pressure
Generally, stress raises blood pressure, so many believe the main likely cause of low blood pressure is poor breathing. But there may be other causes. Often, after periods of intense anxiety, the body is left feeling very fatigued, and this can contribute to low blood pressure in people. Also, depression and low blood sugar may can cause lower blood pressure, both of which may be related to persistent anxiety. Dehydration and heat exhaustion can also lower blood pressure and cause anxiety, but the two are not necessarily related.
It is also important to remember anxiety can cause a persons brain to have thoughts about situations in terms of the worst case scenario. These worst case scenario thoughts can make a person believe there is something wrong with his or her physical or mental health. In other words, a low blood pressure reading at a doctor’s office may simply be coincidental, but to the anxious mind, it could mean something physically wrong.
It is important to remember blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. Low blood pressure readings may have no correlation with a deeper health issue whatsoever.
Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders fall into several categories. Here are a few of them:
- Panic disorder can be associated with cardiac disease or mistaken for heart attack. Feelings of extreme agitation and terror are often accompanied by dizziness, chest pains, stomach discomfort, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder a condition that can follow a shocking or frightening incident or sudden, life-threatening event such as a violent crime, major accident, or heart attack. A person suffering from PTSD often has trouble dealing with anything associated with the incident that caused their condition, and experiences feelings of jitteriness and detachment.
- Obsessive-Compulsive disorder People with OCD will manage unreasonable thoughts and worries by performing the same actions over and over. For example, an individual obsessed with perceived cardiovascular symptoms that have been checked and cleared by a physician may compulsively research them or find new ones for hours on end.
How Anxiety Causes Chest Pain
When youre anxious, your brain sends a surge of adrenaline and cortisol through your body. These hormones immediately trigger a rapid rise in your heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, many people experience chest pain and sweating, or have a hard time breathing.
The sudden boost of adrenaline can narrow the arteries in your heart and attach to cells inside the heart. This condition, called stress cardiomyopathy, mimics a heart attack, from symptoms all the way down to changes in your hearts electrical activity.
Though stress cardiomyopathy usually heals within a few days or weeks, it may lead to weak heart muscles, congestive heart failure, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Levels of adrenaline and cortisol dont return to normal in people with anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Chronically high hormone levels may trigger a panic attack and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
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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.
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Is There A Connection Between Anxiety And Blood Pressure
Yes, anxiety does have an effect on your blood pressure. Anxiety is part of the autonomic nervous system which controls the automatic functions of the body. These functions include tasks that you do not consciously think about, such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and temperature control. As our bodies react to stressful situations , our blood pressure increases and sometimes even decreases.
Continue reading to learn more about anxiety and blood pressure, including the causes of increased blood pressure and treatment options for both anxiety and high blood pressure.
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Can Hypertension Cause Anxiety
Many patients with hypertension often have diagnoses for anxiety or depression as well. A 2018 study states that between 7.5% and 53% of hypertensive patients also have depression, and between 19% and 51% have anxiety and other panic disorders.
This doesnt mean that hypertension causes chronic anxiety or depression, though. However, natural concerns about health issues can cause heightened stress. This might trigger anxiety in those predisposed.
Having a good support network and healthy coping mechanisms for stress can help reduce your anxiety levels and prevent the added challenge of anxiety disorders.
Should I Be Worried If My Blood Pressure Is 150 100
As you can see from the paragraph above, if your blood pressure is significantly elevated it is very unlikely that diet and lifestyle changes alone will be enough to bring your blood pressure in a range that will reduce your risk or heart attacks, strokes, or early death. You need medications.
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How Anxiety Raises Blood Pressure
In addition to impacting you emotionally, anxiety will likely affect you physically. It can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase in response to a stressor.
When you experience a stressor for example, someone cutting you off in traffic cortisol, the stress hormone, gets released into your bloodstream. Stress can also cause your heart rate to increase, leading to a higher volume of blood circulating in your arteries. Both of these factors can result in heightened blood pressure.
If you experience many of the following symptoms and signs, it could mean youre experiencing anxiety, which may result in heightened blood pressure:
- excessive sweating
research suggests a link between hypertension and anxiety, its harder to tell whether your blood pressure levels could actually be adding to your anxiety.
Whats clearer is that its not uncommon for conditions linked to hypertension like heart problems and stroke to cause anxiety. In fact, about people experience anxiety after a stroke. Meanwhile, nearly 1 in 5 people who experienced cardiac arrest had feelings of worry that kept coming back after the fact.
You might worry about:
- having to go back to the hospital
- missing work or important events due to your health
- experiencing the financial impacts of having a health condition
Its possible to manage anxiety about hypertension alongside hypertension itself.
How A Heart Attack Affects Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the inside walls of your arteries as it circulates throughout the body. Just as heart rate changes are unpredictable during a heart attack, so too are blood pressure changes.
Because blood flow in the heart is blocked and a portion of heart tissue is denied oxygen-rich blood, your heart may not be able to pump as strongly as it normally does, thus lowering your blood pressure.
A heart attack may also trigger a response from your parasympathetic nervous system, causing your heart and the rest of your body to relax and not fight while your heart struggles to keep blood circulating. This can also cause a dip in blood pressure.
On the other hand, the pain and stress from the heart attack can raise the blood pressure during a heart attack.
Risk factors for a heart attack include modifiable factors, such as your weight, as well as those beyond your control, such as your age. Some of the most common conditions that raise your risk for a heart attack include:
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How To Tell The Difference Between A Heart Attack And Panic Attack
Chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea: Are you having a heart attack or a panic attack?
Doctors and psychologists agree you shouldn’t take a chance on it not being a heart attack.
That’s because the symptoms of a heart attack and panic attack are so similar that it sometimes can be hard to tell the difference, said Dr. Glenn N. Levine, chief of cardiology at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston. “If in doubt, one would want to err on the side of caution and be quickly evaluated in an ER to make sure this was not a heart attack.”
Heart attacks can be sudden and intense, but most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort that gradually worsens over a few minutes. These episodes might come and go several times before the actual heart attack occurs.
A heart attack happens when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off, usually by blockage of coronary arteries. Calling 911 and getting immediate treatment is critical.
But if a medical workup shows your heart health is good, then you might have had a panic attack especially if intense fear, the hallmark symptom, accompanied the physical symptoms.
“It’s not all in your head. It’s the fight or flight response. The alarm system is going off. But with a panic attack, it’s burnt toast not the house on fire,” Gallagher said.
“They mess with your head,” Gallagher said. “Your brain can’t make sense of what’s happening.”
What Is Optimal Blood Pressure
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Acute Stress And Blood Pressure
Acute stress is temporary stress caused by a specific event, like the ones mentioned above. Bouts of anxiety, like having a panic attack, can also cause acute stress that raises your blood pressure.
If were in a stressful situation, the normal physiologic response is to increase blood pressure, Dr. Laffin explains. Acute stress can increase your heart rate and rev up your sympathetic nervous system, which, in turn, raises your blood pressure.
In these cases, your symptoms dissipate once your stressor is gone. You complete your deadline, you make up with your spouse, you catch your dog, you come down from your panic attack and soon, your blood pressure returns to normal, too.
Its normal to experience changes in blood pressure throughout the day, and your body is typically skilled at managing them. The body can handle acute changes in blood pressure pretty well, Dr. Laffin says. What were really worried about is chronically elevated blood pressure.
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.
Can A Panic Attack Cause A Heart Attack
A panic attack is unlikely to cause a heart attack, but its possible. Emotional stress plays a role in both conditions. Both panic attacks and heart attacks can occur during or after a stressful situation, says Dr. Miller. But most of the time, people have a panic attack rather than a heart attack in response to emotional stress.
People who have anxiety, depression or chronic stress may have a higher risk of heart problems. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Have You Gone To The Hospital For Panic Attacks Before
If so, you probably had a series of tests, such as an electrocardiogram and bloodwork. The results are a sure way to find out if your symptoms came from a heart problem or a panic attack.
If doctors didnât find a health issue then and you have the same symptoms now, itâs likely that youâre having another panic attack. But if youâre not sure, you should go to the hospital.
Most panic attacks pass within 30 minutes, but you can take a few steps to calm them on your own. If youâre short of breath, you can try breathing exercises. Sit or lie down somewhere comfortable. Take slow, deep breaths gently, in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Even if you know panic attacks can cause your symptoms, itâs a good idea to ask your doctor if thereâs a chance you have heart disease.
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Is High Blood Pressure Dangerous If You Have A Panic Attack Getting Past The Danger And The Attacks
ByLydia Erlandsonn | Submitted On September 16, 2009
Lots of folks experience anxiety attacks. They can be daunting to cope with if you donât have a proven system to battle them. If you also have high blood pressure it can be a frightening mix.
Having a panic attack and high blood pressure can possibly cause cardiovascular damage. If you canât control a panic attack then your blood pressure will be affected. Having high pressure to begin with can lead to stress on your cardiovascular system. Another problem can be dizziness, light-headedness, having blurry vision, exhaustion and fainting. These symptoms are not welcome at any time, but especially during a panic attack. So, what can you do? Learn to eliminate the panic attacks and work on the underlying health issues affecting your pressures.
Your doctor probably has you on medication for your high blood pressure. That should really only be a stop gap measure until you can improve your health enough to not need medication. If you think more medication is the answer then please donât read any further. Medication has a place but I think it should be temporary at most.
I researched over a dozen programs and feel I have picked the best 2 out there to tell you about. These 2 would be tied for first in my book and the most popular program Panic Away would be tied in second. Either of these programs are better because of the help they provide.
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Responding To Low Blood Pressure
Everyone’s blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. At any moment, it may be lower or higher than recommended based on what a person has eaten, how much water they have ingested, whether they are sitting or standing, or even how they cross their legs.
That low or high blood pressure alone is usually not a concern unless a person has a heart problem, as the body is expected to go through these different fluctuations.
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Anxiety And Heart Attack Recovery
Anxiety disorders come with a high degree of fear and uncertainty. When this fear and certainty keeps the heart attack or heart disease patient from following the advice and treatment plan of their cardiologist, it can have a major impact on recovery. Anxiety can interfere with:
- Sticking to prescribed exercise regimens
- Taking prescribed medications
- Following through with a healthy diet
- Getting a proper amount of quality sleep
- Reconnecting with friends and family
- Confidently resuming job career and family responsibilities
Chronic Stress And Blood Pressure
Researchers dont know as much about the ways chronic stress affects blood pressure, Dr. Laffin notes. But what they do know is that stress can impact your lifestyle habits and increase your risk of health concerns.
Stress can manifest as unhealthy lifestyle habits that can ultimately impact your cardiovascular risk, Dr. Laffin explains. When youre chronically stressed, you may:
- Sleep less or more poorly.
- Not exercise as much.
- Make unhealthy dietary choices.
- Smoke, drink or abuse drugs.
All of these habits can lead to higher blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke or other heart issues.
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Structural High Blood Pressure: Hypertension Due To Atlantoaxial Instability
Ross Hauser, MD, and Brian Hutcheson, DC discuss the neurology behind cases of structural high blood pressure. In this video is a patient interview describing her condition and outcomes of treatment. The patient is very fit and does not meet the typical criteria for high blood pressure, poor diet, smoking, etc. Yet she had uncontrolled hypertension which can be puzzling to their doctors. By following the neurology of the symptoms, we see how upper cervical instability can impair proper vagus nerve input and restrict the blood flow that is necessary for blood pressure regulation. Our approach to cases like hers is to work on cervical curve correction as well as cervical stabilization with upper cervical Prolotherapy.
The results achieved by our patient in this video may not be typical results.
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