Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?

Domestic chores, travelling, work pressure- keeping up to everyone’s demands everyday is undoubtedly exhausting. There are times in our lives when we feel we can’t manage our lives anymore. We find ourselves stuck in a web of anxiousness, irritability and forgetfulness that affects us negatively. Such times of stress have more or less become another extension of our daily existence. And, it definitely is slowly but steadily affecting our health.

Stress and High Blood Pressure

Stress is linked with high blood pressure. And with high BP, all other diseases like heart failure, kidney failure, and stroke are associated.

During times of stress, our blood pressure increases. Also, our heart rate shoots up very quickly. Our body produces certain hormones because of which our BP increases. These hormones also cause heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow down.  This might seem like a temporary phase. But overtime the behavioral patterns linked to stress impacts our blood pressure levels negatively. It is believed that reaction to stress makes blood thicker and more viscous. This may in turn lead to blood clots.

Stress is the root cause of unhealthy and self destructive behavior. Common habits that people do to deal with stress include over eating, eating wrong kinds of foods, consuming alcohol, smoking, taking drugs, etc. One tends to neglect one’s health at times avoiding medications and all these factors contribute to hypertension — thus stress has an indirect effect on hypertension.

Generally, there are two kinds of Stress – Acute & Chronic.

Acute Stress

Acute stress is when you are experiencing a very high level of stress for a short period of time. This usually happens due to a specific situation. At times of stress there is release of steroid hormones and the stress hormone Cortisol. These hormones cause increased heart rate and decreased blood vessel diameter which leads to increased blood pressure.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is the grinding stress that wears people down and stays for a long period of time. It can contribute to long term problems for the heart and blood vessels.  When the stress response system is activated, this automatically affects other systems like increasing blood pressure, blood sugar levels and decreases immune response. The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and the elevated levels of stress hormones and of blood pressure takes a toll on your health. This long-term ongoing stress thus increases the risk for hypertension, heart attack or stroke.

Stress Management to Reduce Hypertension

Repeated acute stress and persistent chronic stress are both conditions that need to be tackled and treated well in time. At times when you lose yourself completely in the heat of a stressful moment, unknowingly you are creating so much damage to yourself. During such instances take deep breaths, and just sit and first sort out in your head the cause of the outburst. Speak to someone you can trust and let the negative voice in you die down before you presume your work.

The first step to stress management begins with training your mind to take control of the situation and not become a victim of your own negative thoughts and emotions. With proper professional therapy and self-help tools you can lessen the negative effects of your daily pressures.

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