Stress can temporarily raise your blood pressure, but can it also lead to long-term high blood pressure? Could all of those short-term stress-related blood pressure spikes add up to long-term high blood pressure? Researchers are unsure.
Exercising for 30 minutes three to five times per week, on the other hand, can reduce your stress level. And if you have high blood pressure, doing activities that help you manage your stress and improve your health can help you lower your blood pressure in the long run.
When you are in a stressful situation, your body produces a surge of hormones. These hormones raise your blood pressure temporarily by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to constrict.
There is no evidence that stress causes long-term high blood pressure. However, unhealthy stress reactions can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Certain behaviors have been linked to higher blood pressure, including:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating unhealthy foods
Furthermore, heart disease may be linked to certain stress-related health conditions, such as:
- Isolation from friends and family
However, there is no evidence that these conditions are directly related to high blood pressure. Instead, the hormones produced by your body when you are emotionally stressed may cause artery damage, leading to heart disease. Furthermore, some symptoms, such as those caused by depression, may cause you to forget to take medications for high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
Stress-related blood pressure rises can be dramatic. When the stress wears off, your blood pressure returns to normal. However, even frequent, temporary blood pressure spikes can harm your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys in the same way that long-term high blood pressure does.
In the long run, lowering your stress level may not directly lower your blood pressure. Using stress management strategies, on the other hand, can help improve your health in other ways. Learning stress management techniques can lead to healthy behavior changes, including blood pressure reduction.
Managing Your Stress
There are numerous methods for dealing with stress. For example:
- Simplify your schedule. Take a few minutes to go over your calendar and to-do lists if you’re always feeling rushed. Look for activities that consume your time but aren’t particularly important to you. Schedule less time for these activities or completely eliminate them.
- Breathe deeply to decompress. Taking slow, deep breaths can help you relax.
- Exercise. Physical activity is an excellent stress reliever. Just make sure to get your doctor’s approval before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you have high blood pressure.
- Try yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation both strengthen and relax your body. These techniques may also reduce your systolic blood pressure by 5 millimeters or more.
- Get lots of rest. Inadequate sleep can make your problems appear worse than they are.
- Change your perspective. When faced with a problem, resist the urge to complain. Recognize your feelings about the situation, and then concentrate on finding solutions.
The goal is to figure out what works best for you. Be open-minded and willing to try new things. Choose your strategies, put them into action, and start enjoying the benefits.