The proportion of the global population with anxiety disorders in 2015 is estimated to be 3.6% and is more common in females.In people with chronic anxiety, sympathetic nerve activity which is involved in regulating blood pressure increases during stress.
Researchers from the University of Iowa ,United States studied the responses of two groups of volunteers (Group with people of chronic anxiety and other control) after they were exposed to physiological and mental stressors. In this study, Physiological stress was assessed by keeping the volunteers’ hands in an ice-water bath for two minutes ; while mental stress was assessed by allowing volunteers to verbally solve simple math problems as fast as they could for four minutes .
Though increased nerve responses were seen in both groups before and during the ice bath and math activities, the increase was significantly greater among the anxiety group .Findings suggests people with anxiety have increased sympathetic activity.
According to the study this response may be responsible for risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Researchers also highlighted need for future studies to determine whether augmented sympathetic nerve activity is associated with deleterious end-organ consequences in persons with anxiety.