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The Connection Between Stress and High Blood Pressure

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Have you been feeling stressed out and unhappy lately? Contrary to popular belief, stress doesn’t just affect your mental wellness; it can cause physical symptoms as well. Being under heavy stress can even shorten your lifespan!

Stress has a number of effects on the body, including anxiety and increased heart rate. But one of the most important connections between your stress levels and your health is your blood pressure

Being under consistent high-stress levels can and will affect your long-term blood pressure.

What Is Stress?

Once upon a time when humans were a hunting and gathering society, stress was a means for the body to cope with long periods of activity. Chasing down that mammoth, or finding all the berries was important.

In the short term, stress can have benefits. That is to say that a little stress might help you meet that deadline, or chase that goal you’re reaching for.

Stress was not designed to be a long-term condition, and consistent stress can and will put a strain on your body. Incidentally, this is what is called Chronic Stress – rather than short-term Acute Stress.

Related: Mental Maintenance for the Stressed out Woman: Self-care Tips

Why Are You Stressed Out?

Stress can have many sources in daily life – anything that makes you feel tense and anxious. Work schedules, mental and emotional strains, even just getting out of bed can make you feel unhappy and strung out. Not to mention all the additional stress caused by such life circumstances.

How Does Stress Affect You and Your Mental Wellness?

Stress can have a number of effects on the body. Your mental and physical health are often connected and can have all sorts of intangible and unexpected interactions.

Some of the symptoms of chronic stress are:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive episodes
  • Diarrhea
  • Head and body aches
  • Heart palpitations

If untreated, chronic stress can also lead to high blood pressure, which can increase the chances of heart disease and hypertension.

Stress and Blood Pressure 

Stress, at its core, is a flight or fight response mechanism. Your body produces adrenaline when stressed, which can lead to an increase in heart rate. Your blood vessels also become narrower when your heartbeat increases, which can increase blood pressure.

High blood pressure can often have few to no symptoms – which means it can be hard to diagnose until it is too late. Oftentimes the first indication of high blood pressure can be too late to stop the development of problems like hypertension.

Related: How Meditation and Yoga Beat Stress

How to Reduce Stress?

Reducing stress is not as hard as it seems. Better diet, reduce caffeine intake, even just laughing and getting sleep can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

There’s also a lot of treatments out there for high blood pressure and hypertension. If you find yourself developing symptoms of hypertension, you can look to your primary care physician or pharmacist for treatment options. 

As there are a lot of different options for treatment and medication out there, don’t feel bad about asking for help. There are all kinds of resources online to help find the right one for you.

Stress and You

Physical and mental wellness is intrinsically linked to stress. Too much stress in your life can cause all kinds of symptoms, the most common of which is high blood pressure.

Check out our other articles for more info on health and wellbeing!

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