Doctor Verified

Anxiety And High Blood Pressure: Expert Explains Their Connection And Management Measures

Anxiety and hypertension are closely related conditions that can coexist or one may exacerbate the other. Read on to learn the connection.

Sushmita Sharma
Written by: Sushmita SharmaUpdated at: Dec 27, 2023 13:30 IST
Anxiety And High Blood Pressure: Expert Explains Their Connection And Management Measures

Onlymyhealth Dabur Vedic Tea

Have you ever noticed a rise in blood pressure due to increased anxiety or vice versa? Although anxiety cannot directly cause high blood pressure, both are closely related conditions that involve complex mental-body connections. These conditions can coexist, and one illness may exacerbate the other. To understand the relationship between the two, we spoke to Dr Sarathi Goud, Senior Psychiatrist, Kamineni Hospitals, LB Nagar, Hyderabad, who shared insights on the same.

Impact Of Anxiety On Blood Pressure


Anxiety, characterised by heightened worry and fear, has been identified as a potential contributor to elevated blood pressure levels. “When individuals experience anxiety or stress, the body initiates the ‘fight or flight’ response, releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This acute stress response, evolutionarily designed for immediate action, increases heart rate and redirects blood flow to vital organs”, informed Dr Goud.

According to a review by Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, hypertension affects 25% of adults and is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. It was also found that people with severe anxiety are at a higher risk of hypertension as compared to those with lower levels of anxiety.

Chronic Activation of the Stress Response


Dr Goud added, “While short-term blood pressure elevation is a natural stress response, persistent anxiety can lead to chronic activation of the stress response, contributing to sustained hypertension.” Chronic stress may also impact lifestyle factors, such as poor dietary habits, lack of exercise, and disruptions in sleep patterns, all linked to hypertension

Also Read: Connection Between Pain And High Blood Pressure: Expert Explains How Pain Can Cause High Blood Pressure

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Unhealthy coping mechanisms, like overeating or smoking, often adopted by those experiencing anxiety, can further contribute to weight gain, which is a known risk factor for high blood pressure. 

Other Physiological Impacts of Chronic Anxiety


Anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increased heart rate and blood vessel constriction, both contributing to elevated blood pressure. “Chronic anxiety has also been associated with inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, impairing blood vessel function and contributing to hypertension development”, said Dr Goud. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental health issues like anxiety are more common in those with chronic illnesses.

Individuals with anxiety may be less likely to adhere to prescribed medications or treatment plans for hypertension, potentially leading to uncontrolled blood pressure levels.

"Genetic and environmental factors play a role, with shared genetic components contributing to the co-occurrence of anxiety and hypertension. The relationship is bidirectional; anxiety can contribute to hypertension, and having hypertension can increase anxiety levels", highlighted Dr Goud.

You should seek medical help right away if you have severe anxiety along with other symptoms like headaches or shortness of breath.

Also Read: Mental Health A-Z: Expert Explains Anxiety And How To Deal With It

Management Measures

Managing both conditions requires a comprehensive approach, including stress reduction techniques, mindfulness, therapeutic interventions, lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet, and adherence to prescribed medications. When one ailment is treated, the other frequently gets better as well.


Dr Goud concluded, “People should consult their doctor for a diagnosis and therapy if they think they may have one of these illnesses. Understanding these intricate connections is crucial for the prevention and effective management of hypertension in individuals experiencing anxiety.”

[Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided by a registered healthcare professional and is for informational purposes only. Hence, we advise you to consult your expert if you notice any symptoms of hypertension or anxiety for required medical treatment.]