High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the most common diseases worldwide and is estimated to affect one quarter of all adults. Hypertension has been identified as the leading cause of mortality and the third cause of disability-adjusted life years worldwide. Experiencing anxiety can be a sign your blood pressure is dangerously high.
Anxiety and high blood pressure can sometimes go hand in hand, said Medical News Today.
The health site continued: “Anxiety may lead to high blood pressure, and high blood pressure may trigger feelings of anxiety.
“Doctors characterize anxiety as feelings of intense worry or fear.
“It causes many physical symptoms, including increased heart rate and shallow breathing. Periods of anxiety may also temporarily increase blood pressure.”
Anxiety causes the release of stress hormones in the body.
These hormones trigger an increase in the heart rate and a narrowing of the blood vessels.
Both of these changes cause blood pressure to rise, sometimes dramatically.
Anxiety-induced increases in blood pressure are temporary and will subside once the anxiety lessens.
Regularly having high levels of anxiety, however, can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels, in the same way that long-term hypertension can.
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the association between anxiety and hypertension was further analysed.
The study noted: “Epidemiological studies have repeatedly investigated the association between anxiety and hypertension.
“Our results suggest that there is an association between anxiety and increased risk of hypertension.
“These results support early detection and management of anxiety in hypertensive patients.”
What is anxiety?
The NHS explains anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.
It explains: “Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.
“People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed.
“As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.”
The body produces a surge of hormones when a person is in an anxious or stressful situation.
These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow.
There’s no proof that stress by itself causes long-term high blood pressure however reacting to stress in unhealthy ways can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
Health experts advise certain changes to one’s lifestyle to help reduce both stress and anxiety and in turn lower reading.
These include quitting smoking, reducing the amount of alcohol consumed and incorporating either meditation or mindfulness.
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