Is Anxiety a Risk Factor for Hypertension?

Pavankumar Kamat


September 16, 2021


  • A meta-analysis found anxiety to be associated with an increased risk of hypertension, which persisted even after adjustment for possible confounders.

Why this matters

  • Findings emphasise the importance of and opportunities to treat both hypertension and anxiety concurrently.

Study design

  • Researchers at the University of Southampton conducted a meta-analysis of 59 studies (n=4,012,775), identified through a literature search across PubMed and Ovid and PsycINFO databases.

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • Anxiety was associated with an increased risk of hypertension in cross-sectional studies (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.21-1.54; I2, 98.17%) and in prospective studies (OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.23-1.59; I2, 90.26%).

  • After adjusting for confounders, the risk of hypertension remained significant in cross-sectional studies (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.08-1.69; I2, 99.12%) as well as in prospective studies (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.19-1.57; I2, 90.28%).


  • Heterogeneity among studies.

  • Results may have limited generalisability.


Lim LF, Solmi M, Cortese S. Association between Anxiety and Hypertension in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2021 Sep 02 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.08.031. PMID: 34481847.  View abstract 

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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