Lowering Systolic Blood Pressure More May Cut Health Risks
One major study found that lowering systolic blood pressure to well below the commonly recommended level also greatly lowered the number of cardiovascular events and deaths among people at least 50 years old with high blood pressure.
When study participants achieved a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mmHg compared to the higher target of 140 mmHg recommended for most people, and 150 for people over 60 issues such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure were reduced by almost one-third, and the risk of death by almost one-fourth.
“That’s important information, because more lives may be saved and more deaths may be prevented if we maintain lower blood pressure in certain patients,” says Lynne Braun, NP, PhD, a nurse practitioner at the Rush Heart Center for Women.
Braun cautions, however, that your personal blood pressure target depends on a variety of things, including your current blood pressure, lifestyle, risk factors, other medications you are taking and your age. “Every person has to be evaluated as an individual,” she says. “Realistically, we can’t get everybody down to 120, and trying to do so may create unintended problems.”
It can be dangerous, for instance, to keep an older person on medications that have unsafe side effects, such as diuretics , which can cause dehydration and dizziness in older adults.
And there can be other issues involved with taking multiple medications, such as cost and compliance.
Making The Exercise Habit Stick
Despite our best intentions, many of us struggle ditching our sedentary lifestyle. But there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and more fun.
Start small and build momentum. If exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week sounds overwhelming, set a smaller goal and gradually build up as you gain self-confidence and momentum.
Reward yourself. Once it becomes a regular habit, exercise will reward you with more energy, better sleep, a greater sense of well-being, and improved cardiovascular health. When youre starting out, though, give yourself a simple reward for successfully completing a workout, such as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.
Choose activities you enjoy. Youre more likely to stick with a workout you find pleasurable. If you hate running but like yoga or dancing, for example, dont force yourself onto the treadmill every day. Pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.
See How to Start Exercising and Stick to It to learn more.
The effects on your blood pressure
- 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking, for five days of the week can reduce your reading by 4 to 11 mm Hg.
Blood Pressure And The Heart
Theres a reason why your blood pressure is taken every time you visit a doctors office or hospital, regardless of the complaint that brought you there. High blood pressure is rightly known as the silent killer. It often carries no symptoms or warning signs but can drastically increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The higher the number, the harder your heart is having to work to pump blood around your body and the more likely it is that damage is being done to the heart muscle. Since all parts of your body rely on circulation, though, its not just your heart that high blood pressure can impact. If blood doesnt flow easily, it can harm your arteries as well as vital organs such as the kidneys, eyes, and brain.
High blood pressure has been shown to damage the tiny blood vessels in the parts of your brain responsible for cognition and memory, greatly increasing your risk of developing Alzheimers disease or another dementia. Being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease can also take an emotional toll, affecting your outlook and making you more susceptible to anxiety and depression. And just as blood pressure may have an impact your mood, the reverse can also be true:
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What Are Symptoms Of Depression
Too much stress sometimes can lead to depression. People with diabetes are more likely to be depressed than the average person. You may be at risk for depression if you have any of the following symptoms for more than a week:
- Feeling sad or irritable
- Having lost interest in activities you enjoy
- Feeling worthless
Temporary Spikes Are Not Dangerous
Those with chronic anxiety may be more prone to high blood pressure spikes, but the body does do a good job of adjusting and blood pressure often gets back to its normal rate for most of the day. You canât necessarily feel high blood pressure, and while any stress on the body can cause anxiety, itâs more likely that your anxiety causes the spikes than the other way around.
Itâs never a bad idea to speak with a doctor about your blood pressure concerns either. Only a doctor can tell you if there is something you should worry about. Also, remember that the more you worry about your blood pressure, the more anxiety youâll experience, and the more likely youâll suffer from these blood pressure spikes.
Everyone experiences anxiety. In fact, studies show Americans are more stressed out than ever.
But can stress and anxiety actually raise the level of your blood sugar? And what does this mean for those who have diabetes?
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Is There A Connection Between Anxiety And Blood Pressure
Yes, anxiety does have an effect on your blood pressure. Anxiety is part of the autonomic nervous system which controls the automatic functions of the body. These functions include tasks that you do not consciously think about, such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and temperature control. As our bodies react to stressful situations , our blood pressure increases and sometimes even decreases.
Continue reading to learn more about anxiety and blood pressure, including the causes of increased blood pressure and treatment options for both anxiety and high blood pressure.
Prospective Studies Of Anxiety Predicting Hypertension Risk
Eight prospective studies investigated the association between the baseline anxiety status and incident hypertension with a total sample size of 80,146 and 2,394 hypertension case subjects. Characteristics of the studies are shown in . The pooled adjusted HR by REM was 1.55 , with strong heterogeneity detected . No publication bias was detected .
Random effects meta-analysis of prospective studies of the association between anxiety and risk of hypertension .
Note: Weights are from random effects analysis.
Abbreviations: HR, hazards ratio CI, confidence interval.
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Can Pain Cause High Blood Pressure
Pain, immediate or chronic can produce a traumatic effect on your body. It changes how things inside the body operate. If you have some form of pain, you may be wondering, can pain cause high blood pressure?
Pain can cause high blood pressure because it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. This increases the heart rate and constricts blood vessels which increases blood pressure.
This blog post will explain how the BP increases in more detail. In addition, Ill explain how much blood pressure will increase and if chronic pain can effect it too.
BP Tip: Lower BP naturally by changing how you breathe? Theres a device approved by the FDA and The American Heart Association. It simply guides your breathing for you a few minutes a day which has been proven to lower BP. You can check it out in the manufacturers website by .
Disclaimer: This post may have some affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Excessive Salt Raises Blood Pressure
Too much sodium can cause water retention that puts increased pressure on your heart and blood vessels. People with high blood pressure and those at a high risk for developing hypertension, including adults over 50 and black men and women, should have no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily of salt.
Even people with normal levels should eat salt in moderation. Stick to no more than 2,300 mg of sodium , per day.
Most dietary sodium comes from processed foods. Rules of thumb are to choose foods with 5% or less of the daily value of sodium per serving and opt for fresh poultry, fish and lean meats, rather than canned, smoked or processed. Similarly, fresh or frozen vegetables are better than canned.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that if people cut just 1/2 teaspoon of salt per day, it could help lower the number of new cases of heart disease per year by up to 120,000.
Further, potassium found in foods like sweet potatoes, spinach, bananas, oranges, low-fat milk and halibut can counterbalance the pressure-increasing effects of sodium by helping to rid the body of excess sodium.
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Stress Making Your Blood Pressure Rise Blame Your Immune System
- Emory University
- If stress is giving you high blood pressure, blame the immune system. T cells, helpful for fighting infections, are also necessary for mice to show an increase in blood pressure after a period of psychological stress, scientists have found. The findings suggest the effects of chronic stress on cardiovascular health may be a side effect of having an immune system that can defend us from infection. There also are potential implications for treating both high blood pressure and anxiety disorders.
If stress is giving you high blood pressure, blame the immune system. T cells, helpful for fighting infections, are also necessary for mice to show an increase in blood pressure after a period of psychological stress, scientists have found.
The findings suggest that the effects of chronic stress on cardiovascular health may be a side effect of having an immune system that can defend us from infection. The results also have potential implications for treating both high blood pressure and anxiety disorders.
The results are published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
“Chronic stress has long been known to have harmful effects on the immune system as well as being a risk factor for hypertension,” says lead author Paul Marvar, a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University School of Medicine. “Our goal was to examine the role of T cells in stress-dependent hypertension.”
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Learning To Cope With Stress Can Help
Stress and hypertension have often been linked, but researchers are still looking into a direct relationship between the two. Still, the best advice to hypertensive patients: Try to relax.
When you are stressed, your body sends stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones create a temporary spike in blood pressure, causing your heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow. When the stressful situation is over, blood pressure goes back to its normal level.
Chronic stress, however, may cause your body to stay in this highly-charged state longer than natural.
While stress itself may or may not affect blood pressure, how you cope with stress does. For instance, overeating, smoking and drinking alcohol in response to stressful situations are direct causes of sustained high blood pressure. On the flip side, healthier coping mechanisms like exercising, practicing yoga and meditating can all help lower blood pressure.
Dysfunctional Coping Skills Can Lead To High Blood Pressure And Hypertension
Short periods of high blood pressure can be brought on sporadically, but people with anxiety disorders have the same likelihood to develop chronic high blood pressure as those without.
These spikes can also happen frequently enough to cause the blood vessel damage found in hypertension, which in turn places stress on the heart, kidneys, and brain.
In addition to periodic spikes, associated dysfunctional coping skills for anxiety are other contributors to increased high blood pressure in the long term. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, and overeating.
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Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure
Passing moments of stress and anxiety can cause temporary rises in blood pressurewhich typically resolves in calmer times. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, your body releases stress hormones to help you deal with it. Adrenaline boosts heart rate, blood pressure, and energy. Cortisol increases blood sugar and your brains access to glucose to improve mental function. The goal? The fight-or-flight response primes you to cope with the perceived threat. When the danger has passed, your hormonesand the systems they impactget back to normal.Thats a good thing, because when your stress response is constantly activated, it can cause a host of problems, including chronic hypertension. Research findings show that chronic stress can raise blood pressure more than just temporarily. Elevated blood pressure is several consistent readings of 120-129/< 80, and hypertension is several consistent readings > =130/> 80.
A side effect of stress hormones constantly flooding your system is restricted blood flow. This is similar to you trying to drink from a stirring straw versus a regular size drinking straw, according to LaTosha Flowers, MD, a family medicine physician and the founder of Med Concierge and More. When your heart has to work harder to push blood through the body, it increases blood pressure. Simply put when cortisol is high, so is our blood pressure, Dr. Flowers says.
Anxiety Causes High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is not a constant. It changes all throughout the day, going from high to low depending on what you’re doing, what you’ve eaten, how you’re feeling, and so on. At any moment you could go through some type of blood pressure fluctuation that causes a high reading, and that reading says nothing about your overall health or wellness.
What is high blood pressure?
Although there are some outside factors that play a role, generally doctors look at blood pressure using the following chart:
- Low Blood Pressure: < 90/60
- Normal Blood Pressure: 90/60 to 140/90
- High Blood Pressure: 140/90 and Up
The first number refers to the systolic pressure. That is the pressure on your arteries when your heart contracts . The diastolic is the pressure on your arteries when your heart is at rest. Systolic tends to jump up and down throughout the day, while diastolic should stay close to constant .
Although there are risks involved with low blood pressure, most doctors pay especially close attention to high blood pressure. High blood pressure readings indicate that something could be wrong with your cardiovascular system. Because of the risks associated with high blood pressure, it is important to see a doctor. But if other factors have been ruled out, it is possible that anxiety may be to blame.
Can A Person Curve Their Cortisol Due To Their Lifestyle For Example: If A Client Had Low Cortisol At Night Then Increased Their Nightly Activities After A While Would The Cortisol Increase At Night
The cortisol curve may take a long time to change in response to the amount stress that a person encounter. Some people with weaker constitution may have a switch in their cortisol curve earlier. The body has a feedback loop that automatically regulates and modulate cortisol over time to normal if given a chance.
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Blood Pressure Can Increase
The stress response includes faster breathing and an increase in heart rate. Also, blood vessels constrict to be able to send more blood to your muscles so they can be ready to act. The result of these responses is higher blood pressure. If the stress response happens often, the effect on blood pressure can be significant. Hypertension can worsen and related risks, such as heart attacks and stroke, can increase as blood pressure does.
Does Stress Cause High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is a condition that currently affects millions of adults. Roughly 37 million people deal with uncontrolled hypertension, and it caused or contributed to nearly half a million deaths in 2018 alone. Hypertension increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, and it can be caused by many factors, including poor diet, alcohol abuse, obesity, and smoking. Stress is commonly linked with hypertension, but what is the link?
If youre having problems controlling your blood pressure and you live in the Little River, South Carolina area, help is available. Dr. Rogers Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care offer medical help for high blood pressure and many other conditions for you and your whole family.
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You Shouldn’t Ignore White Coat Hypertension
Some people experience white coat hypertension, when blood pressure is elevated in the doctor’s office but not in other settings. These patients need to monitor their blood pressure at home or wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor that takes your blood pressure every 30 minutes for 24 hours.
While white coat hypertension was formerly considered simple nervousness, recent research suggests otherwise.
A study published in the journal Hypertension found that people with white coat hypertension are at a significantly greater risk for developing sustained high blood pressure than people who have normal blood pressure. One possible explanation is that people with white coat hypertension have a harder time managing stress and anxiety.
Job Stress Poor Sleep Hypertension A Deadly Trio
MONDAY, April 29, 2019 — Job stress, high blood pressure and poor sleep may be a recipe for an early death, German researchers report.
In a study of nearly 2,000 workers with high blood pressure who were followed for almost 18 years, those who reported having both a stressful job and poor sleep were three times more likely to die from heart disease than those who slept well and didn’t have a trying job, the investigators found.
“As many as 50% of adults have high blood pressure,” said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
It’s a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and premature cardiovascular death, said Fonarow, who had no role in the new study.
“A number of studies have found associations between greater work stress and subsequent risk of cardiovascular events. Impairment in sleep has also been associated with increased risk,” he said. However, these associations did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
In the new study, the researchers reported that among people with high blood pressure , those who had work stress alone had a twofold higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, as did those who reported having poor sleep alone.
“Unfortunately, poor sleep and job stress often go hand in hand, and when combined with hypertension, the effect is even more toxic,” he added in a statement.
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology
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