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The Healthy Value of Managing Blood Pressure & Stress

We often hear about the link between stress and high blood pressure (BP). The connection is both obvious and more complex than is often discussed. Overall lifestyle is the key to managing both, and this can be achieved by different types of activities, including diet, meditation and exercise.

Dangers of High Blood Pressure

High BP is related to

  • – Increased cardiovascular disease
  • – Heart attack or heart failure
  • – Kidney damage
  • – Stroke
  • – Vision loss
  • – Memory loss


The Connection

During stressful situations BP rises. The connection between tension, anxiety and BP is evident. However, studies have shown that temporary high BP related to stress is not the same as chronic high BP. During chronic stress the body regulates itself so BP does not stay consistently high. Chronic stress is still unhealthy as increased hormones like cortisol have other damaging effects.


How The Connection Can Pose A Danger

Even though chronic stress doesn’t necessarily lead to chronic high BP, the opposite is not the case. Chronic high BP can be caused by:

  • – Age
  • – Smoking
  • – Excessive alcohol consumption
  • – Too much salt in the diet
  • – Obesity
  • – Insufficient exercise or physical activity
  • – Family history
  • – Certain other illnesses and diseases like sleep apnea and kidney disease

Chronically high BP and the factors that cause it can dramatically increase tension levels. Poor health and trying to manage it certainly do create stress. Stress has its own set of dangers and health risks, and some of those risks can contribute to the other causes of high BP. For example, a poor diet high in salt, fat and alcohol is a common unhealthy coping skill during stressful situations, but such a diet is a problem for BP management. During times of increased stress and anxiety a person may be more sedentary and not engaging in activities to combat the stress, lead a healthy lifestyle and offset the poor diet. Chronic anxiety disorders may lead to chronic unhealthy choices.

Stress management can be an effective tool for managing other risk factors associated with high blood pressure and can help lower it. An overall approach to healthy lifestyle changes provides relief from both conditions and the ways they interact with each other.