Anxiety does not cause chronic high blood pressure (hypertension). Anxiety can, however, cause spikes in blood pressure during anxiety episodes or panic attacks. Although these episodes are temporary, if they are frequent they can cause physical damage the same as chronic elevated blood pressure can.
The National Institute of Health considers any blood pressure reading over 140/90 to be high blood pressure.
The Health Central site on high blood pressure states:
"Hypertension places stress on several organs (called target organs), including the kidneys, eyes, and heart, causing them to deteriorate over time. High blood pressure was directly responsible for nearly 44,619 American deaths in 2000 and was listed as the primary or contributing cause of death in an estimated 118,000 cases. High blood pressure contributes to 75% of all strokes and heart attacks. It is particularly deadly in African Americans.
Research suggests that prehypertension is also a serious risk factor for heart complications. A 2005 study found that people with prehypertension are three times more likely to have a heart attack, and nearly twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease as people with normal blood pressure."
According to the National Institute of Health there are things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure:
- Eating healthy
- Reducing salt and sodium from your diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Engaging in a regular exercise program
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Not smoking
For people with anxiety, it is important to have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis as well as discuss anxiety attacks and episodes that may be causing elevated blood pressure to be sure additional complications do not arise.
For more information on High Blood Pressure, check out HighBloodPressureConnection.com
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.