Hypertension & Stress

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Sat, 08/11/2012
High Blood Pressure & Stress

It is acceptable to everyone; today’s lifestyle is more stressful compared to the lifestyle some ten years back.

Additionally, this stress may be the cause of high blood pressure.

Does Stress Affect your Blood Pressure?

Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 85 % of all disease has an emotional element. Stress and anxiety are the reasons behind health problems such as ulcers, sleeping problems, depression, and other chronic ailments.

How does stress raise your blood pressure? Occasional stresses do not cause hypertension; however, episodes of stress can cause dramatic, short-term spikes in your blood pressure. If those stress episodes frequently occur, such as every day, they can damage your blood vessels causing chronic hypertension.

Stress is your bodies respond to any demand, most urgent. If your mind and body are always on excessive stress in your life, you may be prone to serious health problems. Your body’s fight or flight mechanism is the natural alarm system for effectively facing a threatful situation. For example,

When a dog barks at you, your hypothalamus (small region at the base of your brain) will signal (alarm) your body. In turn, it is signaling your adrenal glands (present at the top of your kidney) to release adrenaline and cortisol.

The hormone adrenaline increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, and increase energy supplies. Cortisol (stress hormone) on the other hand, increases the glucose level in the bloodstream, to supply excess requirement of energy for your brain and body cells to meet out the stressful situation.

Additionally, cortisol halts a specific function that is not important during the fight-or-flight situation. It affects immune system function, digestion, reproductive function, and growth process. Thus, excessive and consistent stress can raise blood pressure as well as impacts your overall health.

Stress level rises, so do your disease-promoting white blood cells level that may lead to progression of atherosclerosis, plaque rupture, and myocardial infarction.

During high stress, your body releases hormones norepinephrine, which can cause the dispersal of bacterial biofilms from the arterial walls. This biofilm dispersal can suddenly break the plaque deposits triggering a heart attack.

During stress, your body releases stress hormone cortisol that prepares you to fight or flees. When stress becomes chronic, your immune system becomes desensitized to cortisol that leads to inflammatory response and inflammation get out of control.

The two types of arterial dysfunction cause an increased risk of cardiovascular disease is the stiffening of some large arteries and damage to the inner lining of the arteries. Both changes are by oxidative stress and chronic, low-grade vascular inflammation. We believe the altered chemicals produced by gut bacteria move from inside the intestines through a ‘leaky gut’ wall and enter the bloodstream. Then they circulate and interact with the walls of the arteries to cause oxidative stress, inflammation, and arterial dysfunction.

It may seem nothing you can do to reduce, prevent, or cope with stress. Because

  1. The bills will not stop coming,
  2. You will never have extra hours in the day,
  3. Your career and family responsibilities will always be expanding daily.

Still, you can gain more control than you might think.

Four ways of better stress management

Effective stress management is about taking charge of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems.

  1. Identify the sources of stress in your life - healthy stress management begins with identifying the causes of stress. What are the entire situation’s troubles you a lot or make you worry? These are your sources of stress.
  2. Avoid unnecessary stress - know your capability and say no to newer responsibilities. Avoid peoples who always stress you. Keep away from anxious situations. Do not argue with peoples. Always keep yourself from a stressful environment.
  3. Plan in time to avoiding stress - if you feel the tension on a traffic jam, try choosing alternative routes even though it takes extra miles to travel. Take a moment, prioritize your job, and stop unnecessary stress.
  4. Accept your inability - certain stress events cannot change, try accepting it. Share your feelings with your loved once. Learn to forgive people instead of getting angry.

12 stress-relieving techniques

  1. Make sure you get adequate sleep - As sleep deprivation dramatically impairs your body's ability to handle stress. Sleeping helps to repair your body and relax your mind. Restless and tiredness will increase your stress and get irritated quickly.  On the other hand, if you are stressed, you cannot get sound sleep.
  2. Regular physical activity - Physical activity/exercise produces hormone endorphins in the brain; it acts as natural painkillers, improves the ability to sleep, and reduces stress.
  3. Meditation - Taking even 10 minutes to sit quietly, such as during work breaks, can help decrease your feelings of stress and anxiety.
  4. Yoga - Health benefits from regular yoga practice have been shown to decrease stress, improve sleep, immune function, reduce food cravings, and among other things.
  5. Practicing Pranayama - Breathing techniques helps relax, train your heart, and help to relieve stress. Sit in a comfortable posture, close your eyes, place the palm on the abdomen, and slowly breathe in through the nose (the abdomen should expand).  Rhythmically breathes in, breathes out, and listen to the airflow in and out. Repeat it for 5 to 10 cycles; you can feel the difference in your relaxed mental state.
  6. Yoga Nidra - means "Yogic sleep" or "sleep of the yogis"; it works very effectively on mental-resolve, will power, resolutions and provides physical and mental calmness thus useful for insomniacs. Yoga Nidra helps in restoring harmony by way of relaxation.
  7. Eye Palming is the practice by Indians and Chinese for thousands of years; it can relax eyestrain, eye fatigue, and mental stress. Indian Yogis & Chinese Taoists practiced eye palming for thousands of years. It is very much beneficial for eye relaxation.
  8. Social connectedness - Social support seems to affect our balance of hormones. Social connection and support are increasing levels of oxytocin hormone. It reduces anxiety levels and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous calming down response.
  9. Spend time in nature - Exposing to natural sunlight provides enough vitamin D and normalizes sleep schedule. Bacteria in the soil boosts serotonin (happy hormone) levels. Fresh air improves blood pressure. Spending time in nature can fight stress better than other leisure activities.
  10. Music - Listening to mild, soothing music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on your minds and bodies. So it can be a handy stress management tool.
  11. Have more fun - Watch a funny film clip or a stand-up comedy show. Laughing reduces stress, both momentarily and long-term, by reducing your stress hormones. Some fun activities are playing with kids, spend time with pets, cooking/baking, and gardening.
  12. Emotional Freedom Technique - Tapping or EFT tapping is a universal healing tool that can provide impressive results for stress relieving.