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How does Stress Affect Blood Pressure?

How does Stress Affect Blood Pressure?

April 3, 2023
How does Stress Affect Blood Pressure?

Being under stress can cause your blood pressure to spike briefly. But researchers aren’t sure whether stress can cause blood pressure to rise long-term.

Experts know that exercising 3 to 5 times a week for 30 minutes can lower stress. For people with high blood pressure, activities that help manage stress and improve health can help lower blood pressure.

How Does Stress Affect Blood Pressure?

In a stressful situation, your body reacts by releasing a surge of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the blood. These hormones are responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response. They make your heart beat faster, and your blood vessels narrow, raising your blood pressure. This effect on your blood pressure only lasts a short time. Once the stressful situation is over, your blood pressure returns to its usual level.

How High Blood Pressure Can Lead To Heart Disease?

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Your healthcare team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.

High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases blood and oxygen flow to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:

  • Chest pain, also called angina.
  • A heart attack happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked, and the heart muscle dies without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
  • Heart failure is a condition that means your heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.

How Do You Cope With Stress?

Some common coping mechanisms may challenge you to:

  • Lower your expectations
  • Ask others to help or assist you
  • Take responsibility for the situation
  • Engage in problem-solving
  • Maintain emotionally supportive relationships
  • Maintain emotional composure or express distressing emotions
  • Challenge previously held beliefs that are no longer adaptive
  • Directly attempt to change the source of stress
  • Distance yourself from the source of stress
  • View the problem from a religious perspective

Experts agree that coping is a process rather than an event. You may alternate between several coping strategies to cope with a stressful event.

People differ in particular coping styles or prefer to use certain coping strategies over others. These differences in coping styles usually reflect personality differences. Rigidity in coping is less likely to help than flexibility in coping, fitting the most appropriate coping strategy to the demands of different situations. However, some situations that require coping are likely to elicit similar responses from most people. For example, work-related stressors are more likely to elicit problem-solving strategies. Stressors perceived to be changeable are more likely to elicit problem-solving strategies. In contrast, stressors perceived to be unchangeable are more likely to elicit social support-seeking and emotion-focused strategies.

It’s especially important to evaluate your overall lifestyle when encountering significant stress. Engage in stress-reducing activities to help your overall approach to coping with stressors. Try to:

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  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take brief rest periods during the day to relax.
  • Get enough good quality sleep.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Take vacations away from home and work.
  • Avoid the use of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Engage in pleasurable or fun activities every day.
  • Practice relaxation exercises such as yoga, prayer, or progressive muscle relaxation.

Recommended medication used to manage blood pressure:

  • Carvedilol – is an effective beta-blocker. It controls blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and by slowing down the rate of heart to improve the circulation of blood. It blocks the action of a certain natural substance in the heart and blood. 

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