Anxiety and Blood Pressure – Hypertension
Today I heard an interesting story that had to do with a patient claiming her severe anxiety about doctor visits was responsible for her abnormally high blood pressure readings. This doesn’t sound all that unrealistic right? The interesting part of the story had to do with research studies that suggest escalating blood pressure that occurs consistently is a precursor to problematic blood pressure issues in the future. In this informational article titled “Anxiety and Blood Pressure” we will briefly discuss blood pressure and anxiety along with some helpful ideas to help you reduce your chances of serious problems in the future.
Hypertension is often referred to as the silent killer because in its early stages it produces very few if any symptoms. It is contributes to the deaths of a quarter of a million individuals in the United States annually and is the primary cause of heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.
Anxiety is common, normal, and sometimes useful when struggling to overcome daily challenges and dangers. It is in fact on of the most important survival mechanisms that the body can produce. On the other hand sometimes anxiety reels out of control. This leads to anxiety disorders that are persistent and/or recurrent and impedes ones ability to function in a normal healthy way.
But the question is how does anxiety contribute to blood pressure?
At first blush it might seem like that anxiety and hypertension are as different as night and day but upon closer examination we might find this is not necessarily the case. The truth is anxiety, stress, or anger can raise hypertension by triggering the hormones the constrict blood vessels. Three hormones (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and aldosterol) all raise a person’s blood pressure. Ironically norepinephrine is one of the hormones thought to be linked to anxiety disorders and depression. The other two being dopamine and serotonin. So there definitely is a common link between the two and when you throw in the fact that no specific cause can be identified in over 95% of patients with high blood pressure one could easily conclude that there could be a biological link between anxiety and hypertension.
In summary, if you are being terrorized by one or both of these conditions you should seek professional help and find the appropriate form of treatment for your unique situation.
Additionally, many natural health minded people are choosing to address their anxiety with the help of natural alternative therapies such as yoga, behavior therapy and/or herbal remedies. Certain herbs such as Saw Palmetto and Passion Flower have proven to be a helpful tool in the difficult battle against overcoming anxiety and/or depression and are a safe and effective anxiety treatment option worth considering.