Prolonged or regular periods of anxiety can also cause an increase in blood pressure and create cardiac disorders.
High blood pressure and its link with underlying anxiety: Have you wondered why doctors check our blood pressure every time we visit them? That is because high BP is a known “silent killer” as it increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Anxiety and high blood pressure have a deep relationship – they feed off each other. What this means is that while fear can cause problems related to high blood pressure, high blood pressure can also cause feelings of anxiety. In medical terminology, anxiety is defined as intense, excessive, and persistent feelings of worry about everyday situations. If left unchecked and untreated, extreme stress can be very harmful. Besides causing psychological issues, it can also manifest as physical health problems, which may include arrhythmia, tachycardia and shallow breathing. Let us understand the relationship between anxiety and high blood pressure in detail and see how these health disorders can be cured.
How anxiety causes high blood pressure?
Typically, all of us go through a certain level of anxiety. It is the body’s natural response to stress. But if the feeling of dread persists for more than six months or is quite intense, and then the person might be experiencing an anxiety disorder. This is a useful adaptive response in a case of physical danger; however, prolonged exposure to these stress hormones are quite damaging to health. Doctors also suspect that it is anxiety that leads to white coat hypertension – a phenomenon in which people show a higher blood pressure reading at a doctor’s clinic than at their own home. According to research conducted by the US Library of Medicine in the year 2015, people who suffer from intense anxiety are more prone to falling victims to hypertension compared to those who have lower levels of stress. Living with an anxiety disorder can lead a person to adopt unhealthy lifestyle habits, which may include alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, low diet, and tobacco addiction.
Treatment for anxiety
There are three common treatments available for fear. They are:
- Medication: Several medicines have shown effectiveness in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety. They include buspirone, benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers, among others.
- Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a technique that has been quite effective in helping people deal with anxiety. It teaches people to control their thinking to reduce or avoid anxious thoughts.
Lifestyle changes: Given below are some simple lifestyle changes that can help reduce anxiety
- Practising deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation
- Meditation and regular exercise
- Sound sleep
- Eating a balanced diet and reducing caffeine intake
- Refraining from alcohol, tobacco, and other recreational drugs
- Avoiding stressful situations
- Thinking positively
Conclusion: Training is nature's anti-anxiety remedy. It has been noted in many pieces of research that besides increasing the release of endorphins and helping in achieving sound sleep, individuals who exercise regularly are significantly less likely to develop anxiety-related disorders. Anxiety and high blood pressure are serious health issues, but they can be easily avoided by following a healthy and positive lifestyle!
(Medically reviewed by Dr.Sarjana Dutt, Director-Molecular Biology, R&D & Cytogenetics at Oncquest Laboratories Ltd.)
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