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High Blood Pressure: How Is It Linked To Mental Health?

By HERWriter
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mental health is linked with high blood pressure George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

According to the American Heart Association website, almost half of the people who have obstructive sleep apnea have high blood pressure as well.

In the case of sleep apnea, blood pressure doesn’t actually decrease when sleeping, like for most people. This could be due to a decrease in the blood’s oxygen levels, as well as the constant awakenings that happen with sleep apnea.

Stress can lead to high blood pressure, because people who are stressed also tend to deal with that stress by engaging in unhealthy eating habits, as well as smoking and drinking, according to the American Heart Association website.

Stress can momentarily increase blood pressure, but it’s not certain if it has a strong link to long-term high blood pressure. However, chronic (long-term) stress means that you’re stressed often and therefore your blood pressure is raised during that time too.

It’s not certain if that constant raising of blood pressure could lead to an actual medical condition, but it’s beneficial to overall health to learn to manage stress more effectively.

Stress and sleep apnea are not the only mental health conditions associated with high blood pressure. An article on the American Psychological Association’s website states that when people do not express anger properly, this can lead to an inward expression that can cause health issues like high blood pressure, hypertension (another term for high blood pressure) and depression.

Dr. Sheldon G. Sheps wrote on the Mayo Clinic website that anxiety doesn’t directly cause hypertension, which is a long-term high blood pressure. However, this doesn’t mean there is no connection between high blood pressure and anxiety.

“Episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic, temporary spikes in your blood pressure,” Sheps said. “If those temporary episodes occur frequently, such as every day, they can cause damage to your blood vessels, heart and kidneys, as can chronic high blood pressure.”

Anxiety can also lead people to make unhealthy lifestyle choices that can cause an increase in blood pressure as a result. These choices include overeating, drinking alcohol and smoking, according to the website.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.