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Needing help understanding blood pressure
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Needing help understanding blood pressure

Hi! I am a 22 yr old female in good shape and health. I have however a chronic case of anxiety that is heart centred. This has been going on for around 3 yrs. Doctors have told me repeatedly that raised blood pressure due to anxiety is benign but I would like another opinion. When I'm anxious my BP goes to around 130/80. Normally it is around 110-120/60-75 which I know is great. Recently however due to a relapse into anxiety I got one reading at the doctors office of 150/70 (!!??) I've never had a reading like this even when I am most anxious but the doctor said this is normal for a healthy young person under anxiety and that it won't lead to problems. Admittedly the BP dropped to 115/80 soon after.

My questions are as follows:

1. Since my anxiety focesses on BP and it does seem to raise the BP should I consider a beta-blocker while dealing with this anxiety for heart health reasons.

2. Is the type of BP i'm having dangerous

3. How long can the heart stand high BP without it beginning to harden the arteries

4. Can stress in the absence of ALL other risk factors cause a heart attack

Thanks for your help, this is a great service.
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239757_tn?1213813182

rhia,

thanks for the post.

1. Since my anxiety focesses on BP and it does seem to raise the BP should I consider a beta-blocker while dealing with this anxiety for heart health reasons.

No. unless you had a consistant number of readings that were high, I would strongly emphasize and try alternative methods of dealing with your anxiety and stress (ie exercise, biofeedback, etc..) to try to lower your blood pressure before comitting you to medication.  

2. Is the type of BP i'm having dangerous.

No in the short term. Chronically elevated blood pressure can have detrimental effects. I again think if you are having this much angst as a young woman...you should look into the exact causes of your anxiety and try dealing with them.

3. How long can the heart stand high BP without it beginning to harden the arteries

Coronary atherosclerosis is a life long disease. Therefore, it is important to take steps to minimize the progression even at a young age. Things like smoking, high fat diets and lack of exercise should be taboo for anyone, especially when you are in your prime.

4. Can stress in the absence of ALL other risk factors cause a heart attack

Generally it is the repsonse mechanisms to stress that cause problems. People often eat, drink or smoke because they are stressed which can have detrimental effects. To some degree, a level of stress in our lives is probably beneficial, we all like and thrive on new challenges. Its when these challenges become overwhelming and we develop poor coping habits that we tend to place ourselves at risk.


Good luck
7 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
1) a Beta Blocker actually is effective in treating some kinds of anxiety and it lowers your blood preesure.

2) The kind of BP you are having isn't even considered high. It is borderline at best.

3) your heart could withstand the rest of your natural life at that low of a blood pressure.

4)Only if you have underlying conditions such a a blockage in a coronary artery or narrowing of one of these arteries. Also if it causes high blood pressure over a long period of time.  Stress can makes things that already exist worsen, but not cause it in and of itself in an otherwise healthy person.


I'm sure you've been told, you woory too much! But anxiety is a tough thing to deal with. I've dealt with it for some 20 years. Once you get the anxiety under control, your blood pressure will alright.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.  Another anxiety sufferer here.  I also have anxiety-produced high blood pressure, and my cardiologist has assured me that once I get my anxiety under control, the BP will will recede.  In fact, I'm on a beta-blocker, along with anti-anxiety meds, all with great results and no side effects whatsoever.  My BP has calmed down to 110/60......don't be afraid of the meds-they will do you good.
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Avatar_n_tn
Many doctors feel that people with labile blood pressures DO need to treat in some cases.  Reason being is that if you BP goes up due to anxiety, it may go up under other stresses of life at other times.

Sometimes 24 hour BP monitoring will help decide if treatment for very mild htn is warrented.  

I had mild "white coat" hypertension for years, and it wasn't til an MRI of my brain (done for other reasons) detected subtle changes often associated with long standing hypertension.  I then had 24 hr BP monitoring on several occasions, and it turned out my BP was hanging above 140/90 a lot of the time, unbeknownst to me.  And even though THAT isn't even very high, it was high enough to start to cause damage.  A lot of the time it was 110/60 or so.

So I needed treatment even though my BP is often quite normal.

To the original poster--none of us are doctors here, and you shouldn't take any one persons' experiences or opinions to heart (literally!).  
My experience is probably way out of the norm.
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't think you have anything to worry about at all - except worrying.  Why not ask the doctor if he can put you on a light  anti depressant for a few months to see if it helps - they have worked total wonders for my anxiety.  
Best Wishes
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for all the great responses!!! Anxiety is a horrible thing to deal with especially if its causing the very problem you are worrying about!! Just reading your comments has made me feel so much better. Thanks so much
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Avatar_n_tn
What should one's BP be normally while up and doing things all day (w/o BP meds)? Would it stay at 120/80 (for instance) or would/could it rise to, say, 150-160/90-95 with just doing "common" things around the house, leisurely walking in the mall etc?

thank you

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