Stress and high blood pressure
Reducing stress can help lower high blood pressure. Stress is a normal part
of life. But too much stress can lead to emotional, psychological and even
physical problems - including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains
or irregular heart beats.
How does stress contribute to heart disease?
Medical researchers aren’t sure exactly how stress increases the risk of
heart disease. Stress itself might be a risk factor or it could be that high
levels of stress make other risk factors worse (such as high cholesterol or
high blood pressure). For example, if you are under stress, your blood pressure
goes up, you may overeat, you may exercise less and you may be more likely to
If stress itself is a risk factor for heart disease, it could be because
chronic stress exposes your body to unhealthy, persistently elevated levels of
stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Studies also link stress to
changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack.
What are the warning signs of stress?
When you are exposed to long periods of stress, your body gives warning
signs that something is wrong. These physical, mental, emotional and
behavioural signs of stress should not be ignored. They tell you that you need
to slow down. If you continue to be stressed and you don’t give your body a
break, you are likely to develop health problems. You could also aggravate an
Below are some common warning signs of stress.
Dizziness, general aches and pains, grinding teeth, clenched jaws,
headaches, indigestion, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, racing heart,
ringing in the ears, stooped posture, sweaty palms, tiredness, exhaustion,
trembling, weight gain or loss, upset stomach
Constant worry, difficulty making decisions, forgetfulness, inability to
concentrate, lack of creativity, loss of sense of humour
Anger, anxiety, crying, depression, feeling powerless, frequent mood swings,
irritability, loneliness, negative thinking, nervousness, sadness
Bossiness, compulsive eating, critical of others, explosive actions,
frequent job changes, impulsive actions, increased use of alcohol or drugs,
withdrawal from relationships or social situations