Heart, Lung and Circulation

Presence of Subclinical Anxiety in Hypertensive Patients

      Introduction: Both hypertension and anxiety are common medical conditions. Since anxiety is associated with an increased incidence of sudden death, its presence in hypertensive patients may have prognostic significance. Although symptomatic anxiety is usually diagnosed and treated, subclinical anxiety may remain undiagnosed. This study was undertaken to evaluate the presence of subclinical anxiety in treated hypertensive patients.
      Methods: One hundred consecutive hypertensive patients under treatment without clinically diagnosed anxiety were given the self administered Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale test. The scores (20–80) were classified as follows: Normal Range: 20–44; Mild Anxiety: 45–59; Moderate Anxiety: 60–74 and Severe Anxiety: 75–80. Hypertensive patients with an established clinical diagnosis of anxiety were excluded.
      Results: Of the 100 patients (ages: 29–95 years), there were 52 (52.0%) females and 48 (48.0%) males. Of these, 28 (28.0%) [16 (57.1%) females; 12 (42.9%) males] had anxiety scores over 45. Of these 28 patients, 24 (85.7%) [15 (62.5%) females; 9 (37.5%) males] had mild anxiety and 4 (14.3%) [1 (25.0%) female; 3 (75.0%) males] had moderate anxiety. None had severe anxiety.
      Conclusions: The interrelationship between anxiety and hypertension is not well studied. Our study reveals that a significant number of treated hypertensives suffer from ‘subclinical’ anxiety. Further studies are needed to evaluate the benefits of diagnosing and treating subclinical anxiety in these patients.