Stress and High Blood Pressure - Is There a Connection and
What Can You Do About It? by Rachel Willson
less stress is better.
Stress triggers the fight or flight response in our bodies which was useful years ago
when facing animals or others that represented a physical threat. This response
releases hormones which, among other things, causes blood pressure to rise.
However, today our stress is usually caused by perceived threats not physical ones.
This makes no difference to the body and it continues to pump out adrenaline and
cortisol. Not only that, but we do not respond to the perceived threat by fighting or
running so the hormones are not burned off but linger in the body keeping pressure
elevated until they wear off naturally.
While researchers cannot find a direct link between stress and hypertension, they
theorize that the stress may cause behavior like overeating, smoking, increased
alcohol use and sleeplessness that contribute to HBP. There's another concern that
emotional stress from anxiety or panic disorder may also create self destructive
behavior like not taking prescribed medication for blood pressure.
It would seem apparent however, that even if there is no direct link, your blood
pressure, and your overall health, would be better off with less stress in your life.
Easier said than done right?
In today's world stress is just part of the countryside. It is an everyday occurrence
and it would seem that there isn't a great deal we can do about it. But there are
some ways to manage it.
Identify the stressors. Understand that the things that you think cause stress like the
job, money and or health issues really aren't. Your brain simply sees them as threats
and so responds accordingly. If you list the stressors and then methodically figure out
the best way to deal with them, they become challenges and your brain will react to
them differently. It's like being stalked by a mugger and your brain gets you ready to
run. But when faced with a difficult math problem, your brain simply gets you ready
Exercise, sleep and meditation methods like yoga and deep breathing can help the
physical side of stress. There's even a method called binaural beats that "trains your
brain" to relax.
But if you're reading this you probably have, or know someone who has, high blood
pressure. And you're probably stressing over it which of course starts the endless
cycle of stress, higher pressure, more stress. You have to treat this disease the
same you would any other stressor.
Turn it into a challenge. Learn what you have to do to control your condition. Maybe
it's drugs, maybe you can use a natural approach or maybe you need to combine
both. What you absolutely have to do is take action. Without action the stress
remains and so does the high blood pressure.
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You would probably think that stress
has a direct impact on blood pressure
wouldn't you? Stress can obviously
spike your blood pressure but
surprisingly, there is no firm evidence
that it can cause long term high blood
pressure. With today's hectic pace of
life and all the challenges we face with
employment, finances, relationships
and even the morning commute, it
would be logical to think those
constant stresses would elevate your
pressure. However the jury is still out
on that one.
What everyone will agree to is that
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