Linking Mental Health with Blood Pressure Variability (BPV)
According to new research, both the heart and the mind are involved when patients suffer from mental illness. Our hearts' ability to adjust to environmental stimuli is the connection between them. This connection is broken in patients with poor mental health, which influences cardiovascular health. The research, published in BioMedical Engineering Online, is the most recent to demonstrate the physical consequences of mental illness. A review of research on the impact of mental illness on blood pressure and heart rate was undertaken by researchers, and in a press release, Dr. Renly Lim, the study's lead author, said that they reviewed 12 studies on individuals with anxiety, depression, and panic disorders and found that, regardless of age, mental illness is strongly associated with higher blood pressure changes during the day.
The association is in the way the heart reacts to stress: we want our heartbeat to be adaptable and resilient to changes. When someone has poor mental health, the heart is unable to adjust to the changes. As a result, mental illness-related blood pressure and heart rate changes may lead to long-term issues. In contrast to popular belief, a healthy heart does not beat rhythmically like a metronome. A heart rate is defined as the number of times the heart beats per minute; however, heart rate variation (HRV) is defined as the time between two heartbeats that should vary depending on the situation. Lim stated that we want a high heart rate variation, not a constantly shifting heart rate. A balanced diet, exercise, minimal stress, and good mental health are all ways to achieve this. A high HRV is good because it shows that the heart is responding adequately to external stimuli and psychological stress. Researchers discovered that people with chronic stress and mental illness had a poor stress response, which is defined by low HRV. According to Science Daily, low HRV occurs when a person is in fight-or-flight mode.
In the older population, the link between mental illness and long-term BPV is less evident. Reduced nocturnal dipping is linked to panic disorder. With panic and depression symptoms, non-dipper (or reduced nocturnal dipping) patterns may be a sign of impaired arterial elasticity. Changes in nocturnal BP have been linked to traumatic events, stress or hyperarousal symptoms, and poor sleep quality. Stress chemicals secreted by the adrenal glands tend to rise as sleep begins, resulting in sympathetic hyperarousal at night. Sleep disturbances are usually related to psychological diseases as a result of sympathetic hyperarousal. Non-dipper patterns could potentially be explained by reduced baroreflex sensitivity. Long-term BPV is usually obtained by taking multiple blood pressure readings over days, weeks, months, seasons, and even years. Generalized anxiety disorder and late-onset depression have previously been linked to increasing systolic BPV measured over 8–10 years, although serious depression has not been linked to systolic BPV. The role of different humoral systems in blood pressure regulation, such as the cardiovascular control system, myogenic response, renin-angiotensin system, and endothelium-derived nitric oxide, is typically represented in ultrashort-term BPV. Time-domain BPV has been demonstrated to be linked with panic disorder and anxiety in previous investigations.
Fiske et al. discovered that as people get older, their neurotransmitter release decreases, which affects their mood regulation and ability to react to external changes or innate visceral stimuli. As a result, decreased mood regulation leads to decreased autonomic responsiveness, particularly blood pressure and cerebral blood flow regulation. Controlled breathing may be anxiogenic, especially in people with mental illnesses, but increased breathing may cause hypocapnia due to hyperventilation.
HRV has also been found to be a measure of endocrine and immunological responses to stress in a recent study, making it a "promising biomarker" of mental health. According to a prior study, high HRV was linked to improved cognitive resilience to competitive/self-control challenges, adequate emotional regulation, and better modulation of the stress hormone, cardiovascular, and inflammatory responses during psychosocial and mental tasks. Our hearts can lead us to where our minds are by measuring HRV. Blood pressure variations (BPV) are, on the other hand, best experienced during the night, when the systolic pressure drops by 10-20%. However, in those with impaired circadian rhythms or health, this is not the case; hence BPV can be used to gauge someone's mood. Early therapeutic intervention in the mental illness may avoid diseases associated with autonomic dysregulation and lower the chance of unfavourable cardiac outcomes, according to the study. The study emphasises how mental health care is a crucial aspect of cardiovascular health and risk reduction, demonstrating that no two conditions are completely independent, particularly when it comes to the head and heart.