Mental illness strongly linked to high blood pressure, heart rate problem

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Scientists from the University of South Australia found another reason why people should be paying more attention to mental health: it is closely aligned to blood pressure and heart rate variations.

They found a link between mental illness and widely fluctuating blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and organ damage.

The research is published in BioMedical Engineering OnLine and was conducted by Dr. Renly Lim et al.

There is clear evidence that mental illness interferes with the body’s autonomic functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and breathing.

In the study, the team reviewed 12 papers on people with anxiety, depression and panic disorders.

They found that, regardless of age, mental illness is strongly linked to greater blood pressure variations during the day.

They also found that for people who are mentally ill, their heart rate does not adapt to external stressors as it should.

Reduced heart rate variation (HRV) is common in people with mental illness and indicates that the body’s stress response is poor, exacerbating the negative effects of chronic stress.

Unlike a person’s heart rate—how many times a heart beats in a minute—which is usually consistent, HRV is more complex and is the time between two heartbeats, which should change according to external stressors.

Low HRV occurs when a person’s body is in fight-or-flight mode, is easily stressed, and is common in people with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and mental health problems.

While large blood pressure variations (BPV) during the day are not ideal, at night the systolic pressure should dip by between 10-20 percent to allow the heart to rest.

The researchers found that in people with mental health issues, their blood pressure does not drop sufficiently at night.

The reduced dipping—under 10 percent—can be caused by many factors, including autonomic dysfunction, poor quality of sleep and disrupted circadian rhythms that regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

The team says since mental illness can contribute to the deterioration of heart and blood pressure regulation, early therapeutic intervention is essential.

If you care about mental health, please read studies about defying your body clock may lead to depression, anxiety, and this natural food supplement could help relieve anxiety.

For more information about mental health, please see recent studies about depression linked to white blood cell count, and results showing drinking tea may cut depression in older people.

Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.