Stress and Hypertension
It's a popular misconception that stress causes hypertension -- the two are not necessarily linked. Many perfectly calm people without stress issues have high blood pressure. While research has shown that short-term stress can cause blood pressure to go up for a while, the impact of long-term stress is still being investigated.
If a person is diagnosed with hypertension, it doesn't mean that he or she is "too stressed," "too nervous," overanxious, or obsessive. This is a popular myth. Hypertension is not nervous tension or being overstressed. In fact, a lot of people who are perfectly calm have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
Hypertension research scientists are unsure at this point about the possible effects of long-term stress on high blood pressure. They believe that long-term stress can contribute to hypertension, but they are not sure how much of an impact it may actually have. In the case of short-term stressful situations, they know that stress can make blood pressure go up for a while. But once the stress is relieved, the readings return to "normal."
While stress management techniques do not seem to prevent hypertension, such techniques may have other benefits, such as:
- Making you feel better
- Reducing the need for alcohol or cigarettes
- Helping you to control overeating.
If stress is a major factor in your life, something as simple as spending a small amount of time relaxing every day, even at work, may help you manage stress better. Other activities that may help relieve stress include:
- Getting a massage.
Finding the time to relax and do the things you enjoy may help you cope with stress and hypertension.