Both high and low blood pressure (BP) can be symptoms of underlying disorders. However, most people tend to underestimate the dangers associated with low BP. The common signs of low BP include feelings of dizziness or complaints of lightheadedness when standing up after sitting or lying down for some time. While physicians look at low blood pressure as a symptom of an underlying physical problem, a recent study suggested that it may increase the risk for suicidal thoughts.
The researchers have questioned the validity behind the wisdom of not paying attention to problems of low BP. For the study published online in the journal BMC Public Health in March 2018, the researchers observed more than 10,000 South Korean adults whose details were obtained from the 2010-2013 Korea National Health and Nutrition survey.
Examining relationship between blood pressure and mental health
For the study, the researchers picked up respondents with either normal or low blood pressure. In a bid to find out if there was any possibility of blood pressure with mental health conditions, the researchers asked the respondents the following questions: “Have you ever felt inclined to commit suicide over the last year?” and “Have you ever considered suicide seriously over the last year?”
The findings revealed that among respondents with normal BP, the percentage of those with suicidal tendencies was 10.8 percent. However, the proportion of suicidal ideation continued to increase among the participants who had lower blood pressure. It means that lower the BP, greater the percentage of participants harboring suicidal ideation. This led the researchers to correlate deteriorating mental health with lower blood pressure.
The researchers shared how they had determined the risk of being afflicted with feelings of suicidal ideation among the participants with low blood pressure after controlling for variables like gender, age, body mass index (BMI) and underlying disorders. Raising the strictness of the criteria for low blood pressure revealed a greater propensity to commit suicide.
However, the study had its own limitations. The researchers have failed to pinpoint at the cause-and-effect of the association between blood pressure and mental health. The results of the study only bring forth the possibility of low BP being in some way associated with suicidal ideation, though it cannot indicate the cause. The biggest hurdle that the researchers faced was the use of self-reported information about suicidal ideation from the participants. In addition, the study makes use of systolic blood pressure to define low BP. There is an ardent need for additional research to explore the association between suicidal ideation and diastolic blood pressure.
Timely treatment of suicidal behavior imperative
Low blood pressure may be an indication of weak psychiatric health, which, if not treated, may lead to formation of suicidal ideation. This highlights the need for physicians to closely observe their patients with low blood pressure and explore the possible emotional disorders they may be afflicted with. In the U.S., suicide is one of the leading causes of death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide claimed 44,000 lives in 2015. Significantly, suicide was the second leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 34 in the same year.
Sovereign Health is a leading mental and behavioral health care provider in the U.S. If you or your loved one has been feeling distraught emotionally to the extent of harboring suicidal feelings, call our 24/7 helpline number at 866-973-7164 for information regarding our world-class suicidal ideation disorder treatment centers in California. You can also chat with our online representative for more information regarding our evidence-based suicidal ideation disorder treatment in California.