Anxiety and Blood Pressure - Everything You Need to Know.
Wait - before we dive in,
By the end of this, you'll know what an anxiety disorder is and how it's different from occasional anxiety. You'll also know if anxiety disorders have anything to do with hypertension, aka high blood pressure.
And if you're looking for effective habits to counter this anxiety and high blood pressure tendencies - we got you covered!
Anxiety and blood pressure - any link? 🧐
Let's start from the bottom with this one - what is anxiety?
There are two ways to look at this:
When you experience anxiety as a reaction or response to a warranted or anxiety-inducing event/situation - it's normal, regular, occasional, fleeting fear. Mainly because you are no longer anxious after the stressful event has passed.
Then there are anxiety disorders.
When you experience anxiety to the point where it lingers on even in the absence of anything even remotely anxiety-inducing, or if you feel anxious beyond your mental capacity - that's the sign that this anxiety is a tad more severe than you thought.
This is when it's a mental health condition.
But now, what does an anxiety disorder have to do with blood pressure?
This is when physical symptoms of anxiety disorders come into play. When you're anxious, your racing mind and heart rate can lead to other things like breathlessness or even irritable bowel syndrome.
Sometimes, severe or recurrent symptoms can lead to frequent episodes of blood pressure spike. And this can cause problems with our blood vessels and even our heart.
This has the potential to cause high blood pressure.
That being said, anxiety doesn't necessarily develop hypertension (long-term high blood pressure), always.
But when you regularly experience intense anxiety, it can raise blood pressure or increase blood pressure even at times showing elevated blood pressure readings than the norm.
Heard of white coat syndrome? This is when your blood pressure readings somehow always indicate higher blood pressure than usual. Sure, some of it can be because of the normal "I'm scared to go to the doctor's office" anxiety. But this white coat hypertension can also be a sign of underlying blood pressure issues.
Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure? 🧐
Even though anxiety does not lead to high blood pressure for life, repeated episodes of anxiety disorder symptoms like heart palpitations can fluctuate and spike blood pressure levels.
This can also mean that you're anxious because of your existing high blood pressure.
One can only imagine how stressful it might feel when you can't seem to control anxiety and high blood pressure.
But the relief through all of this is that your anxiety and high blood pressure can be treated.
How to manage anxiety symptoms 🥶
Here are some ways you can treat anxiety and hypertension or even just anxiety symptoms.
📲 Virtual reminders
Turn to your apps for some healthy distraction the next time you think anxiety is creeping in.
It can be a motivational video or even just a caption that can help recenter the narrative in your mind.
Or it can also be what being offers - guided sessions and therapies designed by mental health specialists that you can access at any time, anywhere. Can’t get a healthier distraction than that!
Check this mini guided therapy, you'll know what it's all about - I want to feel a sense of balance between my mind and body.
🌬 Deep breathing
Especially if you're looking for short-term anxiety relief, deep breathing helps us recenter and slow down our racing thoughts about perceived threats and subsequent anxious thinking patterns.
It lightens the weight on our chest and the tightness in our throat.
This is because deep breathing increases blood flow and oxygen to the mind.
The next time anxiety creeps in - think of 478.
Take in a deeeep breath for 4 seconds.
Hold it in for 7 seconds.
Exhale for 8.
Feeling slightly better already, right?
Want to make deep breathing a part of your morning routine to reduce the impact of your anxiety?
💃🏽 Physical movement
Not like you have to lean over backward with a fitness regime like Simone Biles - but sticking to the physical activity of choice like dancing or running for even 10 minutes every day can change the game with our hormones that trigger feelings of calm - like endorphin and dopamine.
The best part - is you'd have access to guided sessions to turn that walk into a more conscious one with being (surprise, surprise).
Here, we got you - check this mini guided session: *I want to start my day with a mindful walk*. :)
☕️ Switch to decaf
Oh, and did you know caffeine is known to make us jittery and nervous?
Not just that, excessive caffeine can make us dehydrated and can affect the quality of our sleep.
Instead, sip on water. It helps regulate mood and blood flow, which are necessary for work productivity and mental fortitude!
Or try this mini guided session on being to help you take more water breaks - I want to drink more water everyday.
Treating high blood pressure - diet health tips 🍳
High blood pressure plagues nearly half the adult US population. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 47% of adults in the US (about 116 million), have hypertension. Yikes.
So, here are a few ways you can try to keep a track of your blood pressure.
👉🏽 Early detection of high blood pressure and what causes it can help prevent heart disease. Making the necessary lifestyle changes can help you overcome your anxiety and high blood pressure.
One way to do that is by eliminating foods that can affect your blood pressure.
👉🏽 For example, salt contains sodium, so your body retains more water to help get rid of it. This extra water puts stress on the heart and the blood vessels, raising blood pressure. Limiting your salt intake can help control high blood pressure.
👉🏽 Cutting down on drinking can help reach low blood pressure.
According to Mayo Clinic, "Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily raises your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking can lead to long-term increases." Sigh.
Alcohol intake causes blood vessels to constrict, and reduce in diameter, due to increased blood levels of the hormone - renin. This only makes it tougher to deal with high blood pressure struggles.
Before we wind this up 🥰
If your anxiety disorders (or any mental illness) lead to high blood pressure - or vice versa, fret not.
All you need is some healthy guidance.
If you need more help with your anxiety disorders, check in with your closest mental health professional.
In the interim, let being be your mental health friend. This self therapy app (which is also the first of its kind, btw) has mini therapies and guided sessions for all anxious feelings you may have.
The best part? You can access them at any time with no prior appointments! :o
Give yourself some love and compassion - this anxiety or hypertension does not define you. You've got this!
This is not a substitute for therapy.
Contact wellness professionals and medical professionals for any physical or mental health conditions. They have systematic review and treatment options like anti anxiety drug for anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, as well as depression treatment options. In case of medical emergency like increased blood pressure spikes or chronic high blood pressure visit your nearest health professional asap.