Is Stress Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common but serious health condition. Almost half of Americans have high blood pressure, and it has no symptoms unless it’s severe.

While high blood pressure is often the result of your diet and lifestyle choices, stress may also help it develop. Said Attoussi, MD, is a primary care specialist at Nashville Family Medical Clinic. He explains the relationship between stress and high blood pressure in this post.

High blood pressure: the silent killer

High blood pressure can have some dangerous health effects if not treated. It’s often referred to as the silent killer because it doesn’t have any symptoms—until it becomes severe.

High blood pressure takes years to develop. That’s why it doesn’t have any immediate symptoms. And as it develops, it can damage your blood vessels and arteries. When high blood pressure becomes severe, it can cause the following symptoms:

Many patients feel like they’re having a heart attack when they experience high blood pressure symptoms.

The cause of high blood pressure depends on what type it is. Primary hypertension occurs from a poor diet and other lifestyle choices. A poor diet can narrow and clog your arteries, which increases the force needed for your blood to pump through.

Secondary hypertension typically occurs from health conditions, like sleep apnea or kidney disease. Secondary hypertension develops much quicker than primary hypertension.

The connection between stress and high blood pressure

When you’re stressed, your blood pressure goes up. This happens because of cortisol, a hormone that’s released during stressful situations. It triggers your “fight or flight” response. 

When your body enters “fight or flight” mode, it causes a short spike in your blood pressure that returns to normal after a few minutes. While this is a natural response to stress, it can cause many health problems over time.

Most Americans experience stressful situations every day. It might be from work, school, or a sick family member. When you experience too much stress it becomes chronic.

Chronic stress puts more wear and tear on your heart and blood vessels, increasing force your blood pumps at. More force against your arteries can damage them.

Your response to stress makes a difference

How do you respond to stressful situations? Some patients may cope with stress with alcohol, while others stress eat. If you’re a smoker, you may smoke more cigarettes than usual. All these responses contribute to high blood pressure.

How you can manage stress and treat high blood pressure

Since high blood pressure has no symptoms, it’s important to have regular checkups with Dr. Attoussi. If you’re under a lot of stress, he can offer solutions to help you stay calm and better control it.

To learn more about stress and high blood pressure, schedule an appointment at Nashville Family Medical Clinic. Our online booking tool makes it quick and easy. Or you can call our office to speak with our team.

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