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Stress and blood pressure: What's the link?

Dec 02, 2023Dec 02, 2023

Stress seems to raise blood pressure, possibly due to stress hormones. However, people can reduce stress and blood pressure with regular exercise.

This article explores the connection between stress and high blood pressure, which doctors call hypertension. It will discuss the causes of both conditions and suggest ways to manage them.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), experts do not fully understand the link between stress and blood pressure.

Stress affects the circulatory system, although those effects only occur when an individual is stressed. For example, stress can cause the heart rate to increase. It can also lead to blood vessels constricting, concentrating blood within the internal organs. However, scientists have not firmly established whether these changes cause high blood pressure.

A 2021 study maintains that stress can lead to measurable increases in blood pressure. The study authors base this finding on previous scientific work and their own research.

In this study, the authors examined the levels of certain stress hormones in people's urine. They found that having elevated levels of these hormones has links to an increased risk of high blood pressure.

The authors suggested that stress hormones may have a role in causing high blood pressure, although more research is necessary to investigate this possibility.

Learn more about high blood pressure.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines stress as a mental state in which someone feels worried or mentally strained by a perceived difficult situation. It is a natural human response to a perceived threat. Many situations can be risk factors for stress, such as:

Stress tends to be more common during certain events, such as:

People may respond to the above situations with varying levels of stress.

Learn more about stress.

There are many possible risk factors for high blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list the following risk factors:

Some research suggests that high salt intake may also cause high blood pressure. Some people seem especially sensitive to salt intake, making them prone to high blood pressure.

People can take steps to reduce or manage their stress. This could help maintain blood pressure at healthy levels. The AHA suggests these steps:

Trying to frame things more positively and expressing feelings could help reduce stress. Writing in a journal is one way to do this. Accepting that some problems are beyond an individual's control may also help.

Learn about five relaxation techniques.

There are many ways to reduce high blood pressure. The AHA also summarises some of these, which include:

Doctors may prescribe medications to help reduce blood pressure if a person is at risk of complications, such as heart failure or stroke.

Learn about 15 natural ways to lower blood pressure.

According to a 2022 review, high blood pressure can lead to serious complications, including:

Anyone who suspects they may have high blood pressure should contact a doctor. Although high blood pressure usually involves no symptoms, people at risk of this condition should contact a doctor.

An individual should talk with a doctor if they feel stressed regularly, as it can affect physical and mental health.

Learn about symptoms of high blood pressure.

Stress is a response to events or situations that seem challenging or dangerous. It has many causes, such as job insecurity or relationship difficulties.

People who often experience stress may have an increased risk of high blood pressure. While scientists do not fully understand why, stress hormones may contribute to high blood pressure or simply correlate with it.

High blood pressure has many causes, including obesity, pregnancy, and a lack of physical activity. It can have serious complications, but people can reduce their risk by exercising, lowering salt intake, and maintaining a moderate body weight.