People with high blood pressure are more at risk of developing neurotic personality traits compared to those with lower blood pressure, a new study has indicated.

A team of researchers has found that high blood pressure can trigger the development of some mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

High blood pressure levels are also associated with other serious health conditions, such as a stroke, heart failure and vision loss.

Psychologist David Tzall, who was not part of this research trial, said: “Neuroticism covers many different parts of a personality, and it does not necessarily encompass one thing.

“Those with higher scores of neuroticism are likely to be more sensitive to their emotions or situations, worry a disproportionate amount to a situation, and have high rates of anxiety.”

He added: “While some people may view neuroticism as negative, it is neither good nor bad. Neuroticism has many adaptive qualities and can be of great use to be someone. It is viewed with a negative perception, but this is not accurate.”

Neuroticism is the trait disposition to experience negative affects, including anger, anxiety, self-consciousness, irritability, emotional instability, and depression.

During the study, the scientists analysed how an individual’s diastolic blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, hypertension and pulse pressure affects their mental wellbeing.

They conducted a mendelian randomisation technique to analyse whether genetics increases a person’s risk of experiencing poor mental health.

According to the findings, high diastolic blood pressure has a genetic casual effect on neuroticism.

It states: “Appropriate management of blood pressure may reduce neuroticism, neuroticism-inducing mood disorders, and cardiovascular disease.”

Cardiologist Dr Melody Hermel, who was not part of this experiment, said: “Prior studies have noted an association between anxiety disorders and hypertension.

“The strengths of this trial include the use of genome-wide association studies datasets with large sample sizes.”

She added: “In general, the association between diastolic blood pressure and neuroticism aligns with our understanding of the deleterious effects of stress on the body.”

“The specific causal relationship between diastolic blood pressure and neuroticism is a bit difficult to tease out.”

She concluded: “As the authors note, neuroticism is a complex trait, and studying it independently from anxiety and depression may produce bias.

“In the era of machine learning, one might consider an advanced analysis clustering features of anxiety-based disorders to better understand their relationship with hypertension.”

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