Can Anxiety Cause High Diastolic Blood Pressure?

Yes, anxiety can potentially cause an increase in diastolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure is the lower number in a blood pressure reading and represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats. Anxiety and stress can activate the body’s “fight or flight” response, leading to various physiological changes, including an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Here’s how anxiety can contribute to elevated diastolic blood pressure:

  • Sympathetic Nervous System Activation: Anxiety triggers the release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine, which activate the sympathetic nervous system. This leads to an increase in heart rate and the constriction of blood vessels, which can raise both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Vasoconstriction: Stress and anxiety can cause blood vessels to constrict, leading to increased resistance in the arteries. This can result in higher diastolic blood pressure.
  • Fluid Retention: Chronic stress and anxiety may contribute to fluid retention in the body, which can increase blood volume and subsequently raise blood pressure, including the diastolic reading.
  • Impact on Arterial Function: Stress and anxiety can affect the function of the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels. Dysfunctional endothelium can lead to impaired relaxation of blood vessels, contributing to higher diastolic blood pressure.

It’s important to note that while anxiety can lead to temporary increases in blood pressure, chronic anxiety or stress over time can potentially contribute to long-term hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and other health issues.

Managing anxiety through relaxation techniques, stress reduction, mindfulness, regular exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices can help mitigate its effects on blood pressure. If you are experiencing persistent anxiety or have concerns about your blood pressure, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation, guidance, and management.