It’s A Stressful World

Anxiety, depression, and stress in adults are at an all-time high. The many social, economic, and political challenges in the world have led to 77% of Americans admitting to stress. Everyone experiences stress at some point, as acute stress is the body’s natural flight or fight response. There are some positives to stress in controlled situations, but chronic stress can lead to psychological and physical consequences. High blood pressure (BP) is a common side effect of all forms of stress. However, blood flow should not remain at elevated levels. Should high BP persist, more severe health challenges can occur.


Can you feel the pressure?

High blood pressure occurs when a sustained flow of blood throughout the body is higher than usual. Blood pressure is often measured using systolic and diastolic markers. These numbers represent the force of blood in the arteries when the heart is contracting and relaxing. Hypertension may be present if these numbers exceed the recommended 120/80mmHg measurement. High BP causes wear and tear on the walls of blood vessels. Over time, this increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and aneurysms. Other possible consequences include kidney disease and sexual dysfunction in men.

Stress and hypertension

High blood pressure has a range of causes. Many people develop high BP with age. However, obesity, sedentary behaviors, smoking, and high salt diets are additional contributors. Certain medications or diseases can also increase blood flow and pressure in the arteries, but what about stress? When the body is constantly on high alert, a series of changes can occur, including high blood pressure. Studies show chronic stress can lead to high BP and other serious health risks.

Time to take control

Most people believe that stress is just a part of life. However, chronic stress can steadily increase blood pressure and lead to serious health problems. The first step is to acknowledge the symptoms of high BP and see a doctor for guidance. Chronic blood pressure often causes headaches, dizziness, anxiety, and shortness of breath. Next, a doctor can make simple checks to confirm hypertension or other underlying health conditions. From there, prescription medication, along with lifestyle changes, can help.

Consider lifestyle changes

Making simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in reducing overall stress levels. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Walking, weightlifting, swimming, or other forms of exercise release endorphins, which naturally decrease stress. Exercise also promotes a healthy heart and cardiovascular health, reducing hypertension. Other stress-relieving options include massage, yoga, acupuncture, and a healthy diet.

Talk about it

What’s causing stress? Usually, there’s an underlying grief or a personal, financial, or professional issue. These issues can lead to worry, depression, anxiety, and other unpleasant emotions. Consider talk therapy, such as seeing a therapist or attending group counseling. These resources can help get to the root of the problem and recommend healthy practices to deal with stress.

Supplements may help

Even with therapy and lifestyle changes, some people need extra help. Supplements are not magic pills but may help lower cortisol levels. Some that have been shown to reduce stress levels include vitamin D, melatonin, ashwagandha, and magnesium.

A stress-free future?

Chronic stress can lead to a range of emotional dangers but can cause health conditions too. High blood pressure is a growing concern and can lead to more severe health complications. Many of life's challenges are unavoidable. However, with the right lifestyle changes and treatment, almost anyone can get things under control.