Stress, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. It can trigger your fight-or-flight response and enable you to avoid danger. It can spur you to avoid being hit by something or enable you to pull someone from danger.
The problem arises when you feel stressed all the time. You can get stressed because of problems at work, managing your family, or worrying about household repairs.
While stress sometimes seems like a feature of modern-day life, the negative health effects of chronic stress are well-documented. Among other things, stress can have a negative effect on blood pressure. At Walker Family Care, the friendly staff can help you find ways to relieve your stress and get your blood pressure under control.
What happens when you’re under stress
When you feel stress, your heart rate quickens, your body releases a surge of adrenaline and cortisol, and your blood vessels constrict. All of these reactions are supposed to be short-lived, and when they are, there are no health repercussions.
But, when you live stressed for days at a time, things become more complicated. Some of the known effects of stress include:
- Problems with your digestive system
- Difficulty sleeping well
- Weight gain
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Heart disease
The link between high blood pressure and chronic stress isn’t clearly understood, but studies have shown that the two are connected.
Combinations of factors can impact blood pressure
There are certain combinations of factors that appear to greatly increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. For example, stress can interrupt your sleep, and the combination of poor sleep and high blood pressure together raise your risk of heart attack or stroke.
There also seems to be evidence that the hormones associated with stress can damage your blood vessels, which in turn, may lead to heart disease. Even though scientists don’t know exactly how stress and blood pressure are related, it’s clear that stress can have a dramatic effect on blood pressure.
Managing stress in your life
No one can lead a stress-free life. You’re going to encounter stressful situations. The question is, how do you protect your health?
One of the first steps you can take is to identify what is causing you stress. Often the things that cause you stress are outside of your control, but sometimes, you can make a decision that will help limit the stress in your life. For example, you may be able to take on fewer commitments, simplify your schedule, or leave time for more pleasurable or relaxing activities.
If you can’t control the things that are causing your stress, you may be able to learn coping skills that can limit the impact of stress on your life and health. Some useful coping strategies include:
- Making sure your diet is nutritious and well-balanced
- Exercising regularly
- Taking some quiet time
- Spending time with family and friends
- Participating in hobbies or pleasurable activities
If you have high blood pressure and a high level of stress, book an appointment online or over the phone to discuss your situation with the staff at Walker Family Care. We may be able to help you identify ways of reducing stress, and we can monitor your blood pressure.