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High blood pressure and stress: Causes, Symptoms, and Management Tips

Uppdaterat: 1 juli 2023


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What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a medical term that describes a condition where the pressure in the blood vessels is elevated. - This means that the heart has to work harder than normal to pump blood around the body.

High blood pressure can be harmful in the long term as it can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and other health problems.

It can be caused by various factors, including heredity, lifestyle choices, age, and certain medical conditions. Keeping blood pressure under control is important to reduce the risk of these complications, and treatment may involve lifestyle changes and medications.

Approximately one-third of the adult population has high blood pressure. High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as "the silent killer" because most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms. Since many people feel fine, they do not think they need to monitor their blood pressure.

Symptoms

Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, even if their blood pressure levels reach dangerously high levels. You can have high blood pressure for several years without any symptoms.

Some individuals with high blood pressure may experience:

  1. Headaches

  2. Shortness of breath

  3. Nosebleeds

  4. Effects on the eyes

How does stress affect blood pressure in the short term and long term?

There is no evidence to suggest that stress causes long-term high blood pressure, but feeling stressed for a prolonged period can take a toll on your health and affect the way you take care of your health, such as unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle, and reduced sleep, which in turn can lead to long-term high blood pressure.

In a stressful situation, your body reacts by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones are responsible for the "fight or flight" response, which makes your heart beat faster and your blood vessels narrow, thereby raising your blood pressure. The effect on blood pressure is only short-term.

When the stressful situation is over, your blood pressure returns to its usual level.

For most people, having a high heart rate and high blood pressure during short periods of stress is harmless, but if this condition persists over a long period, it can lead to health problems.

Consistently high blood pressure can damage the blood vessel walls and lead to heart disease, stroke, or kidney damage.

Therefore, it is important to seek medical help if high blood pressure occurs or to have regular health check-ups to have the chance to detect elevated blood pressure.

What can I do about?

If you suspect that your elevated blood pressure is partly caused by longterm stress, i have the following advice:

  1. Eat a healthy diet: Finding good dietary advice can be challenging. There are countless diets today, and social media is full of them.

  2. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help strengthen the heart and blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

  3. Reduce salt intake: Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can help lower high blood pressure. This can be achieved by choosing low-sodium foods and avoiding high-salt foods.

  4. Avoid smoking: Smoking can damage blood vessels and raise blood pressure, so quitting smoking or avoiding tobacco smoke can help lower high blood pressure.

  5. Reduce stress levels: Finding ways to manage stress, such as practicing yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises, can help lower high blood pressure by reducing tension in the body.


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