The Link Between Stress and Hypertension

Stress and Hypertension  Saint Clair Shores

Stress, although a product of the mind, often manifests itself in both mental and physical ways. Although weightless, the burden of stress can make you feel like Atlas holding up the world. It’s a daily struggle to maintain relationships, succeed at work, pay bills, and handle all of life’s responsibilities.

It’s easy to see the physical side effects. You can spot a stressed person from their movement and tired look. Walk around with bags under your eyes and you’re sure to get worried glances from those around you. When your mind is strained from stress, your heart feels it, too.

While stress probably can’t kill you, it’s not healthy either. Thankfully, you don’t have to fight stress alone. Dr. Vincent R. C. Maribao can help you manage stress and hypertension to keep your heart healthy for years to come.

Stressed out

At the most basic level, stress is a good thing. It’s a part of our natural fight-or-flight response that helps us respond when an emergency occurs. It’s reflects our evolutionary history from a time when death was more of an everyday threat.

Fleeing a saber-tooth tiger and working on a deadline might not be the same thing, but you still feel stressed from a tight situation. However, our bodies are designed for short bursts of stress, not the constant state of stress that so many people endure.

The link between stress and hypertension

So how are stress and hypertension related? Let’s start at the ground floor. Everyone knows that a trip to the doctor will mostly likely include a blood pressure reading – we recognize when we need to roll up our sleeve so the monitor can fit around our wrist or arm.

As the cuff tightens, it puts pressure on the veins and heart so that blood flow is compromised; your heart is pumping at its maximum output and heartbeat. When the cuff is released, the heart relaxes again and your resting blood pressure is measured.

You’re diagnosed with high blood pressure/hypertension when both your maximum and normal heartbeat/output are above a certain level. To be clear, stress alone cannot cause hypertension. Age, race, weight, and certain habits (like smoking or leading a sedentary lifestyle) all contribute to hypertension.

Stress puts strain on particular parts of your body. Your blood pumps quickly and with force, stretching your veins as it flows. Your heart beats quickly to keep everything moving. At the same time, adrenaline constricts your blood flow and surges blood to the muscles as if you’re in physical danger. Your body is working in overdrive for what should be a short burst. Instead, it’s working for hours. This wears down your veins and heart.

What to do

Start with a visit to see Dr. Maribao. A physical exam can identify if you have high blood pressure, and you should have a conversation about your stress levels. Dr. Maribao may prescribe medication to handle the blood pressure. He may also recommend stress-reducing activities, like meditation or healthy living habits such as regular exercise and a low-sodium diet.

If your stress is out of control and may be affecting your health, it’s time to see a doctor. Dr. Maribao takes a holistic approach to treating hypertension, and will provide a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs. Call our Saint Clair Shores office or contact us online today.

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