What Can I Do About Stress
Fortunately, you can manage stress in ways such as:
- Exercising regularly. It can relieve stress, tension, anxiety and depression. Consider a nature walk, meditation or yoga.
- Making time for friends and family. Its important to maintain social connections and talk with people you trust.
- Getting enough sleep. Adults should aim for seven to nine hours a night.
- Maintaining a positive attitude.
- Practicing relaxation techniques while listening to music.
- Finding a stimulating hobby that can be fun and distract you from negative thoughts or worries.
Figuring out how stress pushes your buttons is an important step in dealing with it. Identify sources of stress in your life and look for ways to reduce and manage them. A health care professional can help you find ways to manage your stress.
Stress management or relaxation classes can also help. Look for them at community colleges, rehab programs, in hospitals or by calling a therapist in your community.
Adopting serenity in the face of lifes challenges may help improve your perception of stress and result in better quality of life and heart health.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
What Effect Does Stress Have On The Body
Stress is something everyone occasionally experiences, and different levels of stress will affect us in various ways. Headaches, heartburn, depression, insomnia, low sex drive… stress can contribute to all of it.
It can also be dangerous for the heart. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict to give your muscles more oxygen. Doing that also raises your blood pressure significantly. In small doses, your body can manage dealing with stress, but chronic stress can overwork your heart and put you at risk for many worse conditions. Other stress-related issues, like anxiety and depression, can produce stress hormones that damage your arteries over time and make you more prone to other heart-related conditions.
Midlife Blood Pressure And Cognition
Several studies that measured blood pressure 2030 years before cognitive assessment, consistently reported a harmful effect of midlife high blood pressure on late-life cognition ., , The Framingham Study reported an association between midlife hypertension and low late-life cognitive performance in particular in persons without antihypertensive treatment., The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study consistently reported that midlife high SBP was associated with late-life poor cognitive functioning in untreated people. In this cohort, the effect was strongest in apolipoprotein E4 carriers. A Swedish cohort of men observed an association between high DBP at age 50 years and cognitive impairment at age 70 years. This association was again strongest in persons without antihypertensive treatment., The Kuopio Study, in which MCI was used as the outcome, did not detect a significant association. However, in this study high SBP in combination with high total cholesterol in mid-life doubled the risk of late-life MCI.
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Tips For Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes
If you suffer with high blood pressure, its easy to feel intimidated by the changes you need to make in order to improve your health. While some people may only need to work on one or two areas to reduce their blood pressuregetting more exercise or quitting smoking, for examplemost of us find that we need to improve our habits in at least 3 or 4 areas. But even if you smoke, drink heavily, are overweight, stressed out, sedentary, and eat nothing but junk and processed food, that doesnt mean you have to tackle everything all at once. Making lots of different lifestyle changes at the same time can be overwhelming. And when we feel overwhelmed, its easy to opt for doing nothing rather than doing something.
Start gradually and make one or two changes to begin with. Once those changes have become habit, you can tackle one or two more, and so on. For example, you may decide to start by giving up smokingand adopting some relaxation techniques to help with the stress of quittingthen move on to losing weight or improving your diet.
Lose the all or nothing thinking. Doing something, no matter how small, is always better than doing nothing. If youre eating healthy food during the week, for example, then resorting to takeouts at the weekends, your blood pressure and overall health will still be in better shape than if you were eating takeout every day.
How Can You Get Your Blood Pressure Under Control
If stress and anxiety are whats causing your blood pressure fluctuations, its natural to think that anxiety medication is the best solution. While some research indicates that its useful in certain instances, its not considered a first line treatment. Instead, try these proven prescription and lifestyle changes to get things back under control.
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Eustress Is The Fountain Of Life
For many, beneficial eustress is represented by a particularly inspiring or motivating activity or situation. An example of this is an interesting hobby or an enjoyable day job. Another good example of eustress is falling in love, which increases heart rate variability , reduces stress, and generally makes it easier to manage emotions in stressful situations.
Eustress is generally perceived as a positive state and is not perceived as harmful or threatening. Eustress is also perceived as a flow state where there is a positive challenge or effort that does not seem too overwhelming or frustrating. There is also a strong sense of hope and satisfaction associated with eustress. Eustress also means adequately challenging yourself without expending all your resources at once. Eustress can also be considered as a means of personal growth in different areas of life such as physical, psychological and emotional development.
Eustress is an individually experienced phenomenon, influenced by your thoughts and experiences of each situation. A similar situation can be experienced by two different people in exactly the opposite way. For example, during rain, one gets soaking wet and the other experiences a refreshing rain on the skin. A situation that causes severe distress to one can mean eustress for the other. Studies show that those who are optimistic about their lives and have good self-esteem tend to experience less distress in their lives.
Early Diagnosis And Treatment Is Vital
The force of high blood pressure damages the lining of the arteries, which allows “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol plaques to set up camp, potentially blocking blood flow and causing a heart attack or stroke. The more plaque and damage, the narrower the insides of the arteries.
You can’t feel high blood pressureso the only way to know you have it is to get tested. This information will give you a running start against the consequences of uncontrolled high blood pressure.
“We need to be hyper-vigilant about high blood pressure because it’s a silent killer,” says Mike Farbaniec, a cardiologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “Make sure you see your doctor when you are in your 30s to 50s. If you hit prevention hard then, you are less likely to be sick in your 60s and 70s.”
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Blood Pressure And Heart Rate
Specially trained nurses measured blood pressure in seated participants, after four minutes or two minutes , with the cuff placed on the right upper arm, and with the arm rested on a table at heart-level. Cuff size was adjusted after measuring the arm circumference. At baseline, blood pressure was measured using calibrated mercury manometers with standard cuff size. The first pulse sound was registered as systolic blood pressure and the level at which the pulse disappeared as diastolic blood pressure. The measurements were repeated after two minutes, and the second reading was used in this study. At years 11 and 22, blood pressure was measured with a Dinamap 845XT based on oscillometry. Blood pressure was measured automatically three times at one-minute intervals. The mean of the second and third reading was used in this study. At HUNT 1, resting heart rate at the wrist was counted for 15 seconds or for 30 seconds if the heart was irregular. At HUNT 2 and 3, heart rate was measured by the Dinamap. Heart rate was expressed as beats/min.
The Importance Of Stress Management
In todays fast-paced world filled with increasing demands, stress management is a life skill and a lifesaver. Its also important to note that while the link between stress and high blood pressure is still being studied, stress is known to contribute to risk factors like a poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption.
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How Anxiety Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
- Many people associate stress with high blood pressure, but it can also cause low blood pressure.
- The low blood pressure itself is typically not considered serious.
- Hyperventilation is one of several links between anxiety and low blood pressure.
- Its important to control anxiety over blood pressure some people find that their blood pressure changes give them anxiety, creating a cycle.
- It is healthy to get your blood pressure checked, but it is also important to decrease anxiety.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause Anxiety
Having high blood pressure can trigger feelings of anxiety in some people. Those whom doctors diagnose with hypertension may worry about their health and their future.
Sometimes, the symptoms of hypertension, which include headaches, blurred vision, and shortness of breath, can be enough to cause panic or anxiety.
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How To Get Started With Deep Breathing
One beginner method is called equal breathing, based on inhaling through the nose for a count of four, and exhaling for a count of four. With time, this cycle can be prolonged to counts of eight in, eight out. Another method, called guided visualization, encourages users to hold on to mental images of a peaceful place as they breathe deeply.
There is only one non-drug treatment approved for hypertension by the FDA a device called RESPeRATE. It uses musical tones to guide deep abdominal breathing. Its goal is to reduce the number of breaths to under 10 per minute, and to prolong each exhalation. Clinical trials have shown that daily RESPeRATE use lowered blood pressure, sometimes as much as a blood pressure pill would have. This lowering effect also lasted long after each session. Instead of a RESPeRATE device, you can always use one of several free mobile apps that teach deep breathing.
Deep breathing shouldnt replace blood pressure medications, but it can be a helpful supplement. Its advantages are obvious: it is free, portable, and healthful. The only cost is time ideally, 10 to 15 minutes daily. Adding guided breathing to your routine is a great way to lower your blood pressure while helping you handle the ever-growing stresses of modern life.
Common Causes Of High Blood Pressure Spikes
Some people with high blood pressure will experience sharp rises in their blood pressure. These spikes, which typically last only a short period of time, are also known as sudden high blood pressure. These are some possible causes:
- Certain medications or combinations of medications
- Chronic kidney disease
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How Does Stress Affect Your Blood Pressure
In a stressful situation, your body reacts by releasing a surge of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the blood. These hormones are responsible for the fight or flight response. They make your heart beat faster and your blood vessels narrower, raising your blood pressure.
This effect on your blood pressure only lasts a short time. Once the stressful situation is over your blood pressure returns to its usual level.
Q What Should You Eat When Experiencing Low Blood Pressure
- Drinking plenty of fluids- hydration is key, and dehydration can severely affect blood volume.
- Drink plenty of water through the day, especially after a workout session.
- Vitamin B12- lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia. So, you have to consume foods like eggs, cereals, and beef to avoid a dip in your blood pressure.
- Folate- folate helps keep blood pressure levels at a steady level, and foods like asparagus, liver, and garbanzo beans are rich in folate.
- Salt: Salty foods are known to increase blood pressure, and you can eat food like smoked fish, cottage cheese, canned soup, and olives.
- Caffeine: Caffeinated tea and coffee can spike your blood pressure by stimulating the cardiovascular system and giving your rate a boost.
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Appraisal Of The Quality Of Studies
We used the NewcastleOttawa Scale to assess the quality of studies. A score of quality was calculated on the basis of three major components: selection of the groups of study , quality of the adjustment for confounding and ascertainment of the exposure or outcome of interest in the casecontrol or cohorts, respectively . The maximum score would be 9 points, representing the highest methodological quality . Adjustment for baseline blood pressure values, duration of follow-up of at least 5 years and losses that did not exceed 10% for cohort studies, and adjustment for age and non-response rates below 10% in casecontrol studies were criteria of higher quality. In addition, we employed funnel plots to examine the possibility of publication bias separately for the different definitions of stressors and adaptive responses.
Table 1 Appraisal of methodological quality
Extraction of data and appraisal of the quality of studies were carried out in duplicate by two teams of independent reviewers , who were previously trained and certified. The first author resolved the divergences between the reviewers.
Measure Of Blood Pressure
Standardised blood pressure was measured by specially trained nurses at the beginning of the screening procedure using a Dinamap 845XT based on oscillometry. Cuff size was adjusted after measuring the arm circumference. The Dinamap was started after the participant had been seated for 2min with the cuff on the arm, and the arm resting on a table. Blood pressure was measured automatically three times at 1min intervals. The mean of the second and third readings was used in this study.
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Getting Your Blood Pressure Checked And Under Control
There is no harm in a person monitoring his or her blood pressure. Some people have naturally low blood pressure, and some, naturally high blood pressure. A doctor can provide a person more information regarding his or her blood pressure and what is considered normal based on health history, diet, age, etc.
If a person is informed his or her blood pressure is nothing to worry about, then it is likely anxiety related. Trying to learn healthy ways to breath can be hugely helpful in these cases. Focusing on taking slow breaths, and not trying to over-compensate for poor breathing are good places to start. Going for a walk can help as well because it can take ones mind off of whatever difficult symptoms a person is experiencing, and get his or her blood flowing.
Anxiety can cause low blood pressure through hyperventilation. Some people also find themselves with anxiety after seeing otherwise normal low blood pressure during a random fluctuation. Learning to slow down and control breathing can help, although an anxiety treatment will be more important.
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How Anxiety Causes Low Blood Pressure
Because high blood pressure is associated with stress, most people assume that low blood pressure must be a symptom of something else – something more dangerous. But low blood pressure is also a fairly common anxiety symptom, especially in those that suffer from panic and anxiety attacks. This is because, with those conditions , a person is much more likely to suffer from hyperventilation.
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How Stress Affects Your Health
In addition to the emotional discomfort we feel when faced with a stressful situation, our bodies react by releasing stress hormones into the blood. These hormones prepare the body for the fight or flight response by making the heart beat faster and constricting blood vessels to get more blood to the core of the body instead of the extremities.
Constriction of blood vessels and increase in heart rate does raise blood pressure, but only temporarily when the stress reaction goes away, blood pressure returns to its pre-stress level. This is called situational stress, and its effects are generally short-lived and disappear when the stressful event is over.
Fight or flight is a valuable response when we are faced with an imminent threat that we can handle by confronting or fleeing. However, our modern world contains many stressful events that we cant handle with those options. Chronic stress causes our bodies to go into high gear on and off for days or weeks at a time. The links between chronic stress and blood pressure are not clear and are still being studied.
How To Reduce Stress
The good news is that managing stress is easy, and its free. Infusing a few simple, healthy habits into your lifestyle can help lower your stress levels.
Its perfectly OK to take some time off to relax and recharge, whether thats with some gardening, binge-watching a favorite show or taking a walk, reminds Dr. Kayal.
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Study Design And Participants
This study is part of the NordTrøndelag Health Study , Norway, which is described in detail elsewhere . All inhabitants aged 20years in the county were invited to a general health study. They received an invitation letter with a questionnaire and an appointed date for physical tests and blood samples. The questionnaire covered demographic characteristics, somatic illnesses, somatic and mental symptoms, physical impairments, drugs, lifestyle and healthrelated behaviour. This study concerned 65648 of a total of 92100 people aged 2089years who participated, and 60799 had valid scores of data relevant to this study. Participation in the HUNT Study was voluntary, and all participants gave written informed consent. The Norwegian Data Inspectorate and the Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics approved the study.