I Am Nervous When I Go To The Doctor. How Does That Anxiety Affect Blood Pressure?

Dr. Blumenthal answers the question: 'How Does Anxiety Affect Blood Pressure?'

— -- Question: Every time I go to the doctor I am nervous and my blood pressure seems to be higher than it is at home. How does anxiety affect blood pressure?

Answer: Anxiety affects blood pressure because anxiety is associated with increases in the release of adrenaline, and adrenaline is one of the substances in the body that can raise one's heart rate and raise one's blood pressure. So it's important to talk to your doctor if you tend to have higher blood pressure readings in the office.

You may want to invest in a blood pressure monitor that you can take home and measure your blood pressure at different times during the day. And if your blood pressure is normal at home, then your doctor may feel that just working on one's diet and exercise is all that's needed.

On the other hand though, if your blood pressure readings tend to spike up at home as well as in the doctor's office, your physician will push even harder on lifestyle changes, but may very well want to consider at some point medication to help prevent the spikes in the blood pressure.