Anxiety and depression may lower blood pressure

Anxiety and depression may reduce BP in the long term, a major population-based study has found.

Norwegian researchers looked at data on 36,520 adults over an 11-year period and found baseline anxiety and depression was associated with reduced systolic and diastolic BP. Increasing 'symptom load' of anxiety and depression was also associated with reduced diastolic and significantly reduced systolic BP.

The authors suggest anxiety and depression alter levels of neuropeptides, which can suppress sympathetic activity and reduce BP.

They admit that their findings conflict with received wisdom, but they point out that previous studies have been smaller and prone to selection bias.

Br J Psychiatry 2008; 193: 108-13

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