Stress and High Blood Pressure

Does stress and high blood pressure go hand in hand?

Many people think so, but according to research the answer is not so clear.

A number of studies show that Type A personalities or people who have a competitive streak are more likely to be prone to anger or suffer from heart disease than laid back people.

But researchers are less sure about whether stress is a one-way ticket to sustained high blood pressure.

Acute stress does cause a spike in blood pressure, but do all the stress-related spikes in blood pressure result in a long-term increase in blood pressure?

Researchers aren't so sure!

But what they are sure about is that reducing your stress can improve your health and this may include bringing your blood pressure down.

Stress and high blood pressure: What's the connection?

When stressed your heart beats faster.

Stress hormones are released into your body that also constrict your blood vessels.

So stress does make your blood pressure go up for a while.

This is part of the normal fight or flight response.

Warning Signs of Stress

Stress is a fact of life but it does not have to be a way of life!

When stressed the body gives a number of physical, mental, and emotional warning signs of stress.

These signs tell you that you need to slow down.

Once the cause of stress has passed the high blood pressure reverts back to normal.

But does stress cause long-term high blood pressure?

What's the connection between stress and hypertension?

The answer is still unclear because there are many things that are associated with stress that can cause high blood pressure.

For example stress and cholesterol are related. When stress goes up so to does cholesterol.

This cholesterol can clog up the arteries and lead to hypertension. This is one way that stress and heart disease are connected.

Perhaps behaviours that are linked to stress cause high blood pressure.

There has been plenty of research that suggests individuals who are stressed are more prone to overeat, consume more alchohol, and smoke more cigarettes - and these can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.

Or perhaps it is other health conditions that are related to stress that cause long-term high blood pressure or heart disease.

Some of these health conditions are anxiety or depression.

In short, the long-term effects of stress on high blood pressure are unclear.

How Does Stress Affect Health?

While the jury is still out on the connection between stress and high blood pressure, stress affects health in a number of other ways. These include
Stress weight gain
Intestinal gas
Stress and hair loss
Irritable bowel syndrome
Stress and cancer

Reduce stress and high blood pressure with stress management activities

While stress management techniques may not lower your high blood pressure they may have other benefits such as reducing other factors that do increase blood pressure.

There are a number of ways that you can do to reduce stress.

Exercise and stress. You don't need to run a marathon to lower your blood pressure. Regular exercise makes your heart stronger.

This means your heart can pump more blood with less effort. Less effort means the force on your arteries is less, lowering blood pressure.

Exercise reduces stress which is another risk factor for long-term high blood pressure.

Relaxation techniques. Relaxation exercises such as progressive muscle relaxation or transcendental meditation activate the relaxation response and improve blood pressure.

Deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises are a simple and effective way to reduce stress and improve blood pressure.

Breathing exercises promote relaxation, activate the relaxation response and reduce stress.

Shift your perspective. A positive mental attitude helps you to cope with stress.

Adopting a positive way of thinking is a huge protector against the effects of stress.

Manage your time. Feeling pressured by a lack of time is one of the biggest causes of stress. Effective time management focuses your attention on your most important tasks and helps to take control and reduce stress.

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