What Is White Coat Syndrome
One interesting phenomenon related to anxiety and hypertension is white coat syndrome or white coat hypertension. This occurs in 15% to 30% of patients who have a rise in their blood pressure due to nerves or anxiety when they are in a clinical setting, such as a doctors or dentists office . Its a concern for patients because they may be prescribed unnecessary medication that can have detrimental side effects. What makes it even trickier is that white coat syndrome can sometimes be an early warning sign for actual hypertension.
Luckily, its unlikely that a doctor will prescribe medication or treatment based on one high blood pressure reading. If you or your doctor believe you may be experiencing white coat syndrome, its likely youll be asked to monitor your blood pressure readings at home or wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for a few days to get a more accurate depiction of your blood pressure. Blood pressure goals are under 135/85.
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Nine Strategies To Manage Anxiety
Weight Gain Can Occur
Another role of cortisol is to make sure that the energy that you might spend gets replaced. Cortisol can make you feel hungry even when your body does not truly need the extra food or calories. The result can be weight gain, which causes higher blood pressure. Lark for Hypertension can help you log your food and track your nutrition, without stressing over it, to help keep calories in check for a healthy weight.
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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.
What Are Some Alternative Treatments For High Blood Pressure
Dont rely on CBD alone to lower blood pressure. Its important to talk with a doctor and follow what they prescribe. This may include medication.
There are also home remedies that can help manage the condition. A nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is important, along with managing weight and exercising regularly. Maintaining a low sodium diet is also advised.
Stress management is also key. Things like meditation, massage, yoga, and even deep breathing are worth exploring to reduce stress.
Finally, smoking can also have an effect on blood pressure. Chemicals in tobacco smoke are damaging to tissues in the body and harden the walls of blood vessels. Alcohol can also raise blood pressure, so limiting your intake can help.
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S To Lowering Your Blood Pressure
The first line of treatment for high blood pressure is to make healthy lifestyle changes:
Its also important to take any antihypertensive medications your doctor recommends. There are many different types of medications available to control high blood pressure, so if one drug causes unpleasant side effects, your doctor can help you find a more suitable one.
Even if your doctor also prescribes you medication to help tackle hypertension, controlling your weight, quitting smoking, improving your diet, managing stress, and getting regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape and managing your blood pressure over the long term.
If youve just been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or have suffered a serious health event such as a stroke or heart attack, you may be experiencing a great deal of emotional upheaval. Its important to give yourself time to process the change in your health and be kind to yourself as you adjust to your new situation. But its also important to know there are plenty of things you can do to come to terms with your diagnosis and regain control of your health.
Stress And Hypertension: Symptoms And Treatment
Stress, Pressure, Tension, and Anxiety are often synonymous. Therefore, it is not surprising that hypertension is viewed by many as also being indicative of a state of increased emotional tension, anxiety, or stress. If such a connection does exist, which comes first? Could they have a common cause? Almost 100 years ago, one of the earliest studies of hypertensive men emphasized that one finds an unusual frequency of those, who as directors of big enterprises, had a great deal of responsibility, and who, after long periods of psychic overwork, became nervous.1 A debate over whether a particular hypertensive personality exists has gone on ever since. Some believe that patients with hypertension are characterized by a generalized state of increased anxiety, while others claim that feelings of suppressed anger are more common. A tendency towards submissiveness and introversion has also been suggested, and increased denial and resistance to pain have been reported in those with a family history of high blood pressure. How can such varied views be reconciled?
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Common Causes Of High Blood Pressure Spikes
Some people with high blood pressure will experience sharp rises in their blood pressure. These spikes, which typically last only a short period of time, are also known as sudden high blood pressure. These are some possible causes:
- Certain medications or combinations of medications
- Chronic kidney disease
Anxiety Or Calm Can Cause False Blood Pressure Readings
Medical professionals have long known that blood pressure measured in a doctors office may not match your true normal blood pressure. This may be due to one of two conditions that cause false readings, and recent research shows that both call for more consistent and accurate blood pressure monitoring.
When stress and anxiety caused by a clinic or hospital visit lead to higher-than-normal blood pressure readings, the effect is known as white coat hypertension , or white coat syndrome, named for the coats doctors wear. WCH occurs in about one in five people. Its not necessarily a response to being in the presence of a doctor or nurse the anxiety that some people have before and during a medical visit can trigger the syndrome.
The other condition, known as masked hypertension, is the opposite of WCH. Masked hypertension occurs when people normally have high blood pressure but it doesnt show up when measured in the doctors office.
WCH can lead to an incorrect misdiagnosis of high blood pressure and overmedication. It also may indicate that the persons blood pressure tends to rise when he or she has anxiety for other reasons. Masked hypertension, on the other hand, can prevent needed treatment for high blood pressure.
Changes in Guidelines
The researchers also discovered that many adults suffer from masked hypertension.
Muntner says accurate readings are important for getting the correct treatment.
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Getting Your Blood Pressure Checked And Under Control
There is no harm in a person monitoring his or her blood pressure. Some people have naturally low blood pressure, and some, naturally high blood pressure. A doctor can provide a person more information regarding his or her blood pressure and what is considered normal based on health history, diet, age, etc.
If a person is informed his or her blood pressure is nothing to worry about, then it is likely anxiety related. Trying to learn healthy ways to breath can be hugely helpful in these cases. Focusing on taking slow breaths, and not trying to over-compensate for poor breathing are good places to start. Going for a walk can help as well because it can take ones mind off of whatever difficult symptoms a person is experiencing, and get his or her blood flowing.
Anxiety can cause low blood pressure through hyperventilation. Some people also find themselves with anxiety after seeing otherwise normal low blood pressure during a random fluctuation. Learning to slow down and control breathing can help, although an anxiety treatment will be more important.
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Anxiety And Blood Pressure: Whats The Link
Anxiety is the bodys physical response to stress. Heavy breathing, feeling butterflies in your stomach, or getting a sudden burst of energy are all physical manifestations of anxiety. Feeling anxious at times is completely normal and can even be helpful in certain situations. We all have a fight or flight response, like if you saw a bear in the woods your body would generate the epinephrine needed to run quickly. When you experience these short episodes of anxiety, increased heart rate and a temporary blood pressure spike is both likely and helpful.
Blood pressure varies moment to moment in all people, says Evan Jacobs, MD, a primary care physician at Conviva Care Center in Parkland, Florida. Stressors such as pain, discomfort, or anxiety will elevate blood pressure temporarily and this is a normal reaction.
But long-term high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, isnt just the temporary result of a stressful situationits when blood pressure is consistently too high, according to the American Heart Association. Hypertension is a common health condition, nearly half of American adults have it. When patients have uncontrolled elevated blood pressure, patients feel anxious. When the blood pressure is controlled with medication, patients often feel calmer and less jittery.
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Measure Of Blood Pressure
Standardised blood pressure was measured by specially trained nurses at the beginning of the screening procedure using a Dinamap 845XT based on oscillometry. Cuff size was adjusted after measuring the arm circumference. The Dinamap was started after the participant had been seated for 2min with the cuff on the arm, and the arm resting on a table. Blood pressure was measured automatically three times at 1min intervals. The mean of the second and third readings was used in this study.
Your Reaction To Stress May Affect Your Blood Pressure
Your body produces a surge of hormones when youre in a stressful situation. These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow.
Theres no proof that stress by itself causes long-term high blood pressure. But reacting to stress in unhealthy ways can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Certain behaviors are linked to higher blood pressure, such as:
Also, heart disease may be linked to certain health conditions related to stress, such as:
- Isolation from friends and family
But theres no evidence these conditions are directly linked to high blood pressure. Instead, the hormones your body makes when youre emotionally stressed may damage your arteries, leading to heart disease. Also, some symptoms, like those caused by depression, may cause you to forget to take medications to control high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
Increases in blood pressure related to stress can be dramatic. But when your stress goes away, your blood pressure returns to normal. However, even frequent, temporary spikes in blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys in a way similar to long-term high blood pressure.
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Causes Of High Blood Pressure
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.
Stress Leads To Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Sometimes chronic stress increases your blood pressure indirectly. For example, some people cope with stress by eating processed and sugary foods, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes. Doing so introduces other risk factors known to cause hypertension.
A study that looked at the lifestyle impact of stress on blood pressure found that participants who used food, alcohol, and smoking as a way to relieve stress had higher blood pressure. On the other hand, participants who chose healthier coping mechanisms, such as exercise and relaxation techniques, had lower blood pressure.
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Conway Medical Center Is Compassionate Care That You Can Trust
For decades, weve focused on improving the health of our community and transforming lives. Our wide range of services covers every aspect of your wellness, from cardiac care to nutrition.
Dont wait for your blood pressure to increase and create a life-threatening situation. Take a proactive role in your health and schedule an appointment with a primary care provider today.
Overcome Blood Pressure Anxiety Compulsion To Take Continued Readings
Remind yourself that hypertension if youre ever diagnosed with it is extremely treatable with diet, exercise and stress management + other modifiable factors.
When you hear someone say, Ive tried exercise and diet but my high blood pressure wont budge, realize that their assessment of what would be effective diet and exercise could be quite subjective.
- Crack down on a plant-based diet and keep daily sodium intake under 2,000 mg.
- Eat five to seven servings a day of raw vegetables and fruits .
- Adopt a strength training and cardio exercise program.
- If you smoke, QUIT.
Take your BP only once a day, when you are most relaxed, never when you have anxiety.
Write down the reading in a special log. When data is written down, you wont be as inclined to keep taking more readings on that same day.
Remind yourself that blood pressure is a highly fluctuating function. You cant be continuously taking readings that can be easily influenced by anxiety.
Remind yourself that high blood pressure is highly treatable. This isnt cancer!
The fitter, faster and stronger your body, the less likely youll worry about acquiring an ailment that mostly affects people who do not take proper care of their bodies .
If you want to obsess about a number, focus on the amount of weight youre deadlifting or bench pressing at the gym.
Focus on THAT number, not the one on your blood pressure machine.
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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