When considering the regular indicators of depression, high blood pressure does not usually come to mind. Usually, some may think of mental effects such as feelings of despair and helplessness, overwhelming sadness, and decreased confidence. Nevertheless, there is a link between depression and elevated blood pressure (known as hypertension).
This is often due to cortisol, a hormone that may become elevated when the body is under stress, like sleep deprivation or illnesses. The perpetual tension of depression and any related unease can indicate the body to generate more cortisol.
Is there a connection between depression and hypertension?
A 2013 study revealed that depression is prevalent in those with uncontrolled hypertension and can impede the regulation of blood pressure. Examining depression in hypertensive people is a basic and cost-efficient approach that could lead to better results.
Whilst there is evidence that there is a connection between depression and hypertension, another study stated that due to depression and hypertension sharing a similar neurological pathway, it is key to take into account depressive symptoms in individuals with hypertension (and likewise, hypertension in those who are depressed).
Despite this, there is a link between depression and hypertension and there have been studies that have also factored in age.
This is an important factor to bare in mind, as it is typically those who are older that are more susceptible to high blood pressure. The following table investigates research among a range of age groups:
|Age group||Results||Is there a connection between depression and hypertension?|
|65 years old and above||A 2010 study found that hypertension was linked to depression in the elderly. Those who are depressed and with depression should be examined closely.||Yes, on the grounds of lower systolic blood pressure.|
|Children between 10-19 years old||A longitudinal study found that there is a possible hereditary disposition between the onset of depression and high blood pressure.||Yes, on the grounds of lower systolic blood pressure.|
How to identify if depression is causing high blood pressure
It is not uncommon for those who have untreated blood pressure to not show symptoms. However, they can appear in the form of:
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
There are a number of reasons that could be causing high blood pressure, but if you have depression or think you have depression then speak to a medical professional.
Where can I have my blood pressure monitored or examined?
It is reported that more than 25% of adults in the UK have high blood pressure and are not aware of it. Even if you don’t have any symptoms it’s essential to monitor your blood pressure regularly, especially if you are at risk.
At Atkiia, our wearable blood pressure monitor takes readings at different intervals throughout the day, so you can get a clear understanding of your blood pressure.
|Home BPM (Cuffs)||Aktiia|
|Accurate: Meets ISO81060-2 Standard|
|FREQUENCY||1+ times a day/week||Avg 70+ a week|
|DAY-TIME BP||Frequent Errors1|
Is hypertension caused by depression treatable?
Thankfully, both depression and hypertension are manageable. Although managing depression may not provide a solution to high blood pressure, it is sometimes possible to lower high blood pressure with some lifestyle changes like exercising more often, eating healthier food, and reducing alcohol consumption.
However, for the majority of cases, the most effective way of treating hypertension is through medications. It’s crucial to consult your doctor so you can learn the best way to treat your elevated blood pressure in order to reduce potential harm to your heart, brain, kidneys and other vital organs.
How do I manage high blood pressure?
As mentioned before, high blood pressure is manageable with a few lifestyle changes and in some cases medication management through a healthcare professional. Below are some methods that can help ease hypertension and depression.
Having a balanced diet
Eating healthily can help to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) and depression by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing sodium intake, eating more fruits and vegetables, and getting adequate amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Eating a healthy diet can also help to reduce your risk of developing other conditions associated with hypertension, such as heart disease and stroke.
Increasing your daily activity
Try to aim for 60 minutes of exercise per day to keep your heart health up and to boost your mood. It is much easier to start exercising in smaller increments and increasing it slowly. In this case, aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity per week as a minimum.
Reducing alcohol consumption
Keep within the recommended limits of alcohol, for men this is not exceeding 3 to 4 units and for women, 2 to 3 units.
Reducing salt intake
Consuming and preparing food with a large amount of salt (or sodium) can lead to an increase in blood pressure, which may raise the risk of developing heart disease and other health conditions.
Getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep daily
During normal sleep, your blood pressure goes down. Having sleep problems such as sleep apnea or insomnia means your blood pressure stays higher for a longer period of time which can cause hypertension. Aiming for 8 hours of sleep daily can help lower your risk. If you think you are struggling with a sleep disorder then please speak to a medical professional.
Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight, your heart must work harder to circulate blood through your body. The greater the effort required for the heart to work, the higher your blood pressure will be. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight so it can lower your cholesterol so it doesn’t lead to heart disease and other health issues such as stroke and kidney damage.
It is clear that depression and hypertension are both serious conditions that can have serious health consequences when left untreated. It is important to recognise the link between depression and hypertension, as well as the potential for further health complications.
Treatment for depression and hypertension should be aimed at reducing the severity of both conditions, as well as providing support for mental health and lifestyle changes. With proper care and treatment, it is possible to manage both depression and hypertension and lead a healthier, happier life.
Aktiia has developed a wearable blood pressure monitor that measures your blood pressure throughout the day, so you can get an accurate view of your daily blood pressure patterns in the comfort of your home. For more information, check out our 24/7 blood pressure monitor or contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. If you have concerns about your blood pressure or health, it is best to consult a licensed healthcare provider for a professional medical evaluation.
Depression increases the risk for uncontrolled hypertension, Oct 2007 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3716493/
Sympathetic activity in major depressive disorder: identifying those at increased cardiac risk? Dec 2010 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17885556/
Depression and blood pressure in high-risk children and adolescents, Sep 2013 – https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/bmjopen/3/9/e003206.full.pdf
High blood pressure – symptoms and treatment, Aug 2021 – https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/risk-factors/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-and-treatment