Doctors suggest you can learn to manage it. Stress management is not just an option, but a necessity, as overwhelming levels of unmanaged stress can cause multiple health problems, one of which is hypertension or hypertension.
On World Hypertension Day, May 17, Doctors Explain How Your Daily Stress Can Increase Your BP extension levels and how you can manage them.
Stress can contribute to the development of high blood pressure (hypertension) through various mechanisms. When we experience stress, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, leading to the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones stimulate the body’s fight-or-flight response, resulting in an increased heart rate and constriction of blood vessels, which ultimately raises blood pressure levels, explains Dr. Saritha Sekhar, associate professor and consultant interventional cardiologist, Amrita Hospital, Kochi.
Additionally, chronic stress can trigger inflammation within the body. This inflammation can damage blood vessels and impair their ability to dilate or contract properly. Impaired flexibility and function of blood vessels can contribute to increased blood pressure, adds Dr. Sekhar.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms often accompany stress. People may resort to overeating, drinking too much alcohol, or smoking to cope. These behaviors can directly contribute to high blood pressure, shares Dr. Sekhar. Additionally, stress can disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to inadequate rest and recovery. Poor quality sleep is associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension.
Dr Vivudh Pratap Singh, Senior Consultant – Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla Road, New Delhi, also adds some common stress triggers that studies have found to be associated with high blood pressure. Numerous studies indicate that adverse psychosocial working conditions, including job strain, effort-reward imbalance, and bullying, are associated with a higher risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Life changing tips for fighting stress and high blood pressure
Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Founder-Director & Senior Psychiatrist, Manasthali, shares the following tips:
- Prioritize stress reduction in your everyday life. Incorporating stress reduction activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga in your routine can have a profound impact on managing your stress levels. These practices help activate the body’s relaxation response, counteracting the effects of chronic stress on the body
- Physical activity plays a crucial role in stress management. Engage in regular exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling. Regular physical activity helps reduce stress hormones, promotes the release of endorphins (feel-good chemicals), and improves overall well-being. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- A healthy diet can contribute significantly to stress reduction and blood pressure control. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products into your meals. Avoid sugar and processed foods, which are typically high in salt, and opt instead for fresh, unprocessed alternatives.
- Effective time management it can relieve stress and prevent it from escalating. Prioritize tasks, set realistic goals, and break them down into manageable steps. You should learn to delegate, saying no when needed, and keeping a balanced schedule can help reduce your stress levels.
- adequate rest and sleep they play a vital role in stress management and blood pressure regulation. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, create a comfortable sleeping environment, and limit your consumption of caffeine or electronic devices before bed.
Dr. Sekhar shares the following lifestyle tips for managing stress:
- Take time for activities you enjoyengage in hobbies, spend quality time with loved ones, and make time for relaxation and recreational activities.
- Building a strong support network it is precious. Seeking social support from friends, family, or joining support groups can provide an outlet to share experiences, seek advice, and receive emotional support.
- Managing stress is a ongoing processand it may take some time to find the strategies that work best for you.
Dr. Rajeev Gupta, Director of Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Delhi concludes with the following suggestions:
- It is essential for identify and address the underlying causes of stress, whether it be work-related pressures or personal issues, to prevent long-term health consequences.
- In some cases, medicines prescribed by the doctor may be necessary to manage hypertension, however, lifestyle changes remain the cornerstone of hypertension prevention and management.