Do you know the links between stress and blood pressure? Chronic (continual) stress actually causes your body to go into overdrive on and off all day for weeks or months at a time. Even though you are aware of the fact that stress increases your tension levels and decreases your endorphins, it’s hard to accept that this vicious cycle is actually happening inside you. The physiological links between stress and blood pressure aren’t very clear cut and are still being researched.
Some research has found a link between high blood pressure and the possibility of contracting a certain type of pandemic. The scientists were looking at the possibility of a seasonal pandemic triggered by stress. The results were startling: chronic stress was actually linked to a very real possibility of a seasonal pandemic. This, of course, should give us all some comfort in our everyday lives and help us keep better track of any potential stressors.
Another common link between stress and blood pressure is related to the ability of our immune systems to adapt. Stress increases both our heart rate and our body weight. The extra weight causes the arteries to expand and their diameter increases. As a result, they are less able to accommodate the nutrients and other substances that our bodies need. These substances, mainly oxygen, are taken by the capillaries and transported throughout the body. However, when our heart rate and our body weight increase, the amount of oxygen that is transported through the arteries also increases, causing the heart rate to rise and the associated increase in blood pressure.
One of the ways to control the link between stress and blood pressure is to control our sodium intake. Sodium is known to contribute to high blood pressure. For this reason, it is advisable for people with hypertension to avoid salty foods and replace them with healthier alternatives, like fish or low-sodium vegetables. Sleep may also help salt reduction. Many experts recommend getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, especially those who are dealing with ongoing stress and blood pressure problems.
It seems as if sleep may also play a role in the stress response. Because sleep deprivation leaves people stressed out and tired, the body’s fight or flight response is triggered and individuals begin to exert themselves, which can raise blood pressure. A study conducted by Iowa State University found that smokers who also reported higher stress levels were more likely to smoke more. What makes this even more surprising is that smokers actually showed no increased blood pressure when they were asleep.
In addition to a regular sleep schedule, another strategy to combat the link between stress and blood pressure is to incorporate stress management into your daily life. There are numerous ways to incorporate stress management, but perhaps the easiest is to set aside time on a daily basis to be mindful of your surroundings and to focus on positive aspects of your day. This can be as simple as checking your email in the morning or taking a 30-minute walk to clear your head of all the stress and tension of the day. Another stress management strategy is to make an effort to do something you’ve been putting off, like a family vacation. By spending time with your family as a group or as a single unit, you gain a sense of commonality and relaxation.
By taking the necessary steps to combat the stress in your life and to combat the effects of anxiety, you’ll find that you’ll be able to lower your blood pressure readings. Don’t let anxiety control your life, because in the end it will only negatively affect your health. Use these stress management tips to lower your blood pressure and improve your overall mood.
Finally, don’t forget to get regular physical exercise. Exercise has many positive benefits, and it will help you to combat both stress and anxiety. Regular exercise combined with proper diet will allow you to lead a happy, stress-free life. When combined with proper diet, this will allow you to maintain a healthy weight and to keep your heart healthy. These are all great lifestyle improvements that will lead to decreased stress and anxiety, and to a lower risk of developing a variety of health problems, including heart disease.