The ONE organ responsible for high blood pressure.
Stress and High Blood Pressure : Are they connected?
Your reaction to stress may affect your blood pressureYour body produces a surge of hormones when you're in a stressful situation. These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. There's no proof that stress by itself causes long-term high blood pressure. But reacting to stress in unhealthy ways can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Certain behaviors are linked to higher blood pressure, such as:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating unhealthy foods
- Isolation from friends and family
Stress-reducing activities can lower your blood pressureReducing your stress level might not directly lower your blood pressure over the long term. But using strategies to manage your stress can help improve your health in other ways. Mastering stress management techniques can lead to healthy behavior changes — including those that reduce your blood pressure. There are many options for managing stress. For example:
- Simplify your schedule. If you always feel rushed, take a few minutes to review your calendar and to-do lists. Look for activities that take up your time but aren't very important to you. Schedule less time for these activities or eliminate them completely.
- Breathe to relax. Taking deep and slow breaths can help you relax.
- Exercise. Physical activity is a natural stress buster. Just be sure to get your doctor's OK before starting a new exercise program, especially if you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- Try yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation strengthen your body and help you relax. These techniques also may lower your systolic blood pressure by 5 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or more.
- Get plenty of sleep. Too little sleep can make your problems seem worse than they really are.
- Shift your perspective. When dealing with problems, resist the tendency to complain. Acknowledge your feelings about the situation, and then focus on finding solutions.
Along with these ways to reduce stress, add in a healthy lifestyle — maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, regular exercise, and a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthful fats — and high blood pressure could be a thing of the past.