High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. High blood pressure can lead to a range of health issues overtime. While high blood pressure is most commonly associated with physical health issues such as heart disease and strokes, it can also have a pretty big impact on our emotional and mental well-being. Research has even shown that there is a correlation between stress and high blood pressure. Our blog delves into the latest scientific research to provide you with insight and answers!
Impact of High Blood Pressure on Body
Before we dive into the relation between high blood pressure and stress, let’s first focus on the impact that high blood pressure can have on the body. High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is constantly too high, which can also cause a variety of other health issues over time. According to the CDC, high blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which then decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. Decreased blood flow to the heart can cause heart failure, heart attack, and chest pain.
In addition, high blood pressure can have a range of more negative impacts on the body. Some of the most common include: kidney damage, eye damage, cognitive decline, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, and sexual dysfunction.
However, many people with hypertension never experience any symptoms at all. It is often referred to as the silent killer for this reason. It’s important to include regular blood pressure checks to identify and help manage this condition.
How Stress & High Blood Pressure are Connected
Now that we know more about high blood pressure and the impact it has on the body, what does stress have to do with it? There are actually numerous studies that show the link between stress and high blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic breaks down the connection by stating that the body releases a surge of hormones when under stress. These hormones then cause the heart to beat faster and faster, and the blood vessels begin to narrow. These actions increase blood pressure momentarily. When our stress or “fight or flight” response is activated too often, it can lead to longer forms of high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can also cause an increased amount of stress and anxiety. This is due to the fact that it is a chronic condition that requires management and can lead to more serious health issues if left untreated. This can create a cycle for stress and high blood pressure, which unfortunately can lead to each condition intensifying itself.
Ways to Reduce Stress
If you are worried about your high blood pressure increasing your stress levels or vice versa, there are many natural ways to reduce stress. Some of our favorites include:
- Engaging in regular exercise: Increasing your physical activity is a great way to boost your mood and reduce your stress levels.
- Deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises are a great way to calm down and slow the heart rate, in turn reducing stress levels.
- Get more sleep: Getting enough sleep each night is crucial for regulating your stress and anxiety levels. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night to reap the benefits.
- Meditation or yoga: These ancient practices are wonderful tools to help reduce stress.
- Time management: Time management can actually be a very effective way to reduce stress. If you are constantly worried about being late or getting tasks done in time, trying to manage your time can save you some of the anxiety.
Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure
There are plenty of medications available to aid in lowering high blood pressure. However, there are many natural approaches that may help as well. The Mayo Clinic lists the best natural ways to lower high blood pressure, some of which include:
- Losing extra weight, especially around the waistline
- Exercising more regularly
- Eating a balanced and healthy diet
- Reducing salt (sodium) intake in diet
- Limiting alcohol
- Getting enough sleep each night
- Stopping smoking
- Reducing stress
- Getting support through family and friends
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.