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Can Panic Attacks Cause High Blood Pressure

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Can a Panic Attack Cause High Blood Pressure? [AND 1 Super Simple Way to STOP the PANIC!]

We had a friend who was being recommended to start taking anti-anxiety medication. She wanted another opinion on this. That this friend was being recommended to anti-anxiety medication was somewhat surprising as we knew this person to be one of the calmest, most wonderful people we know. Great mother, great wife, nothing would suggest that she had anxiety. Not even to her.

Like the person above, she had new-onset anxiety, no reason, just happened one day while she was dropping off the kids at school. When I asked her about her neck prior to the onset of the panic attacks, she gave me a long history of tension in her neck, various types of headaches, chiropractic care, cracking sounds up high on the neck, swishing in the ear, and basically the rest of the signs and symptoms of upper cervical instability. I sent her to get a digital motion x-ray in her state which was significant for upper and mid cervical instability. We started treatments with Prolotherapy. .

The Idea That Upper Cervical Spine Instability Impacts Heart Rate Variability And This May Be A Culprit Of Your Symptoms Is Not A New Idea

The idea that upper cervical spine instability impacts heart rate variability and this may be a culprit of your symptoms, is not a new idea. In our 28 years of helping patients with problems related to the cervical spine, we have seen these symptoms many times. Yet medical research is not yet that abundant. In our own peer-reviewed published studies we have been able to document cervical neck ligament damage as a possible cause of low HRV as to when cervical neck ligaments are damaged or weakened by wear and tear damage or injury, they allow the upper cervical instability that can impinge on the cervical nerves. We will be citing this research below. First, we will explore some independent research.

The first two studies, the first being from neurosurgeons, the second from chiropractors, both discuss the benefit of treatment, surgery, or chiropractic care.

In April 2011, in the medical journal Spine, Doctors at the Department of Neurosurgery, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in India examined patients with the suspected autonomic nervous system and cervical compressive myelopathy. The researchers noted, there are no studies on compressive myelopathies.

So what does nerve compression do?

  • The researchers evaluated 29 adult patients with cervical compressive myelopathy.
  • Conventional autonomic function tests and Heart Rate Variability HRV were studied in these patients.
  • The same tests were done on 29 age- and sex-matched healthy controls.

Surgical Treatments For Cervical Instability May Chase The Wrong Problem

In medicine, there are universally accepted equations. When pain cannot be controlled using conservative treatments including physical therapy, chiropractic, and pain medications, there has to be a surgical recommendation.

In neck and spine surgery, doctors focus on degenerative disc disease and its treatment, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, and cervical decompression surgery to remove whole or part of the cervical vertebrae to allow space on compressed nerves and to fix the instability by fusing vertebral segments together. In the case of C1-C2 instability, these two vertebrae are fused posteriorly to limit their amount of movement. The goal is to limit pressure on the nerves. To be clear again, for some people surgery is the only way. For many others, surgery can be realistically avoided.

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Diagnosing And Treating Anxiety

Its important to differentiate normal anxiety from the more severe type. Does the anxiety interfere with your family life or keep you from being productive in your professional life? Does it restrict you from engaging in the activities you like? If the answer is yes, then its the kind of anxiety that may require some degree of therapy or medical attention.

Depending on the duration, severity, and type of anxiety, treatment can include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. A common and effective method of treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy , which involves three main components:

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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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Signs Of Stress Anxiety

It’s also important to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety. These include difficulty sleeping, fatigue, persistent worry, gastrointestinal symptoms and muscle aches and pains.

Controlling stress and anxiety is the best approach to controlling temporary spikes in blood pressure. Healthy practices like getting plenty of sleep, eating well, exercising and avoiding too much alcohol can help to keep anxiety in check, Stanley said.

Beyond this, some people benefit from anxiety reducing techniques such as deep breathing, positive imagery and meditation or yoga. Others need to develop a new way of thinking to keep stress under control.

Are Some People More Prone To Anxiety Than Others

Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure?

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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Research On Cervical Instability And Prolotherapy Treatments A Possible Solution To The Problems And Challenges Created By Cervical Spine Instability And Pressure On The Vagus Nerve On Heart Rate

Caring Medical has published dozens of papers on Prolotherapy injections as a treatment in difficult-to-treat musculoskeletal disorders. We are going to refer to one of these studies as they relate to cervical instability and a myriad of related symptoms including the problem of a racing heartbeat, heart rate variability, and high blood pressure.

In our 2014 study we published a comprehensive review of the problems related to weakened damaged cervical neck ligaments.

This is what we wrote:

There are a number of treatment modalities for the management of chronic neck pain and cervical instability, including injection therapy, nerve blocks, mobilization, manipulation, alternative medicine, behavioral therapy, fusion, and pharmacologic agents such as NSAIDs and opiates. However, these treatments do not address stabilizing the cervical spine or healing ligament injuries, and thus, do not offer long-term curative options.

What we demonstrated in this study is that the cervical neck ligaments are the main stabilizing structures of the cervical facet joints in the cervical spine and have been implicated as a major source of chronic neck pain and in the case of racing heartbeat, heart rate variability, and high blood pressure, cervical instability.

Can Anxiety Cause Shortness Of Breath

Certain anxiety disorders can cause feelings of shortness of breath.

General anxiety increases your respiration rate, causing you to breathe more rapidly than usual. This faster breathing, also called hyperventilation, isn’t the same as shortness of breath, however.

Shortness of breath feels like a tightening in your chest and often comes with trouble breathing. It’s not a common symptom of general anxiety.

However, similar to feelings of chest pain, shortness of breath is associated with panic attacks and panic disorder, a specific type of anxiety disorder.

Since it can be a sign of heart attack or another life-threatening condition, unexplained shortness of breath is a medical emergency. Whether you have a history of panic attacks or not, you should go to the emergency room if you’re experiencing sudden and/or severe shortness of breath.

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The Importance Of Controlling Stress And Anxiety

Now, the caveat to all of this is that stress especially long-term stress does damage your body. Frequent panic attacks are unhealthy, especially if you do suffer from any disease, like heart disease, which is exacerbated by stress.

So while anxiety and panic attacks can lead to large temporary spikes in blood pressure, that isn’t the concern. The concern is that living with anxiety is difficult, and living with stress in the long term is unhealthy. That’s why it’s important to make sure you take action to control your anxiety.

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Distinguishing A Panic Attack From A Heart Attack

How To Lower Blood Pressure During Anxiety Attack

Panic attacks and heart attacks can share similar if not identical symptoms. Anyone suffering from sudden and severe chest painwhether being treated for anxiety disorder or not should go to the emergency room. The physician will test the patients blood for specific heart muscle enzymes. If none are found, its usually not a heart attack.

A cardiologist sensitive to the issues of anxiety and depression will know how to sort out panic attack symptoms from heart attack symptoms, and will be able to refer the patient for treatment for panic disorder or any other type of anxiety.

Stay on Top of Your Heart Health

If you have a new or existing heart problem, it’s vital to see a doctor. Our heart health checklist can help you determine when to seek care.

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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.

Can High Blood Sugar Cause Anxiety

Those who live with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing anxiety because it can be difficult to manage the physical symptoms and possible progression of this condition. Secondly, your worries over these issues may also cause nervousness or fretfulness which would then lead into more severe levels on worry such as panic attacks

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A Lot Of Diagnoses A Lot Of Misunderstanding

A June 2020 paper in the Journal of Atrial Fibrillation , describes the lesser-known diagnoses of a racing heart and the problem of heart rate messaging miscommunication in the autonomic nervous system.

The cardiovascular branch of the autonomic nervous system is responsible for the regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, and maintaining homeostasis during physiological stress such as exercise and standing upright. The autonomic nervous system constantly controls the rate and force of heart contractions and the vascular tone with the aim to maintain the sufficient tissue perfusion with oxygenated blood and secure venous return to the heart. .

  • Dysautonomia problems of or dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.

Dysautonomias, the result of an autonomic nervous system malfunction, is often found in patients with cardiovascular symptoms. Apart from the most prevalent one, arterial hypertension , the cardiovascular dysautonomic continuum encompasses other important although less known conditions: postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, inappropriate sinus tachycardia, orthostatic hypotension and reflex syncope . Moreover, heart diseases may evoke autonomic imbalance by themselves cardiac pump failure is usually associated with sympathetic hyperactivity , neuroendocrine vasopressor activation , higher heart rate, reduced heart rate variability and baroreflex hyposensitivity , all of which are predictors of adverse outcomes.

Causes Of High Blood Pressure

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Theres no single cause of high blood pressure, but rather many contributing factors. Some are out of your control, such as age, race, gender, and family historyblood pressure tends to increase over the age of 70, affects more women than men over the age of 55, and is more common in African Americans than Caucasians, perhaps due to a genetic sensitivity to salt.

Many other risk factors for hypertension are within your control. Being overweight, eating a poor diet high in salt, smoking, drinking excessively, and not getting enough physical exercise can all impact your blood pressure.

There are also specific substances that can raise your blood pressure, such as:

  • Caffeine, including coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks.
  • Prescription medications, including some of those used to treat ADHD, birth control pills, corticosteroids, atypical antipsychotics, MAOIs and SNRIs used to treat depression, and some cancer drugs.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin and ibuprofen .
  • Cough and cold medications containing decongestant or NSAIDs.
  • Herbal supplements, such as ephedra and yohimbine.
  • Recreational drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
  • Licorice found in some candies and gum.

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Anxiety Attacks And High Blood Pressure

Long-term high blood pressure is known as hypertension. People with hypertension have elevated blood pressure at all times. Anxiety, though, only causes high blood pressure spikes during acute attacks of anxiety.

While this doesn’t constitute hypertension, anxiety-induced blood pressure increases can damage blood vessels, heart, and kidneys if the blood pressure spikes are frequent enough. If anxiety is causing blood pressure spikes daily, damage is a concern. This is one of the reasons it’s important to seek professional help to keep anxiety symptoms under control.1

It’s also important to remember that frequent anxiety episodes are more likely to cause other unhealthy lifestyle habits such as:

  • Smoking

Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain

Certain anxiety disorders can cause feelings of chest pain.

Chest pain is not a common symptom of the general anxiety you feel here and there.

However, if you suffer from a type of anxiety disorder called panic disorder, you may experience feelings of chest pain during a panic attack.

The most important consideration any time you’re experiencing chest pain is the possibility of heart attack, which is a medical emergency.

Unfortunately, panic attack symptoms and heart attack symptoms can feel similar. So, whether you have a history of panic attacks or not, you should go to the emergency room if you’re experiencing chest pain.

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Panic Disorder In Children

Panic disorder is more common in teenagers than in younger children.

Panic attacks can be particularly hard for children and young people to deal with. Severe panic disorder may affect their development and learning.

If your child has the signs and symptoms of panic disorder, they should see a GP.

After taking a detailed medical history the GP will carry out a thorough physical examination to rule out any physical causes for the symptoms.

They may refer your child to a specialist for further assessment and treatment. The specialist may recommend a course of CBT for your child.

Screening for other anxiety disorders may also be needed to help find the cause of your childs panic attacks.

Diagnosis And Treatment For Panic Disorder

Panic Attack and High Blood Pressure

Disabling panic attack symptoms must be experienced for one month or more before panic disorder can be diagnosed. Once a mental health professional has identified panic disorder, treatment should begin immediately, since the suffering this condition causes is so devastating and life-altering.

Despite the intensity of its symptoms, panic disorder is a highly treatable disorder.Treatment regimens for panic disorder will usually include both medication andpsychotherapy, which together can help sufferers cope with the physical and mental symptoms of their condition.

It can take time and great effort for people with panic disorder to overcome the fear that accompanies their panic attacks, and that is especially true for those who have panic disorder with agoraphobia, or any other co-occurring mental or behavioral health condition. Regardless of the circumstances or complications, patients who begin their treatment in a residential mental health facility have the best odds of recovery.

Holistic healing practices like meditation, yoga, biofeedback, art and music therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture all come highly recommended for anxiety disorder patients, and most high-quality mental health treatment facilities now offer them as a supplement to individual, group, and family therapy.

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