Social stress & blood pressure

There are suggestions that short-term stress-related spikes in blood pressure add up over time and may be putting us at risk of developing long-term high blood pressure. The jury is still out on this one and more research is needed.

When we’re in stressful situations or we’re constantly being exposed to stress, the body can produce a surge of hormones that temporarily increase our blood pressure, by causing the heart to beat faster and the blood vessels to narrow.

Although there is no scientific evidence just yet to show that stress by itself causes long-term high blood pressure, there may be other factors that tip the stress issue and it’s that which increases our blood pressure.

Behaviours tend to add to this including drinking, poor sleeping habits and overeating. A lack of exercise can also cause high blood pressure. Over time, it could be that short-term stress related spikes in blood pressure may put us at risk of developing long-term high blood pressure.

Stress can be the reason the increase in blood pressure can be dramatic, although once we deal with our stress and that dissipates, our blood pressure usually returns to normal. Temporary spikes in blood pressure can damage blood vessels, kidneys and the heart, if they occur often enough, in a similar way to long-term high blood pressure.

If then we react to stress by taking on the usual vices of smoking, eating unhealthy foods, drinking too much alcohol, we could increase our risk of high blood pressure, a stroke or a heart attack.


4 Jun, 2017

4 thoughts on “Social stress & blood pressure

  1. We are all subject to various stressors at different times in our lives; school, university, relationships, work, family, money and health worries. The list is endless and I think modern day living continues to expose us to these stresses.

    The things we can do emotionally and physically to reduce the risks to our health through stress that you suggest, are essential if we are to manage our lives better.

    1. Absolutely, the most important being our health. Without our health in tact, we either don’t live or live a life with struggle attached to it.

      We’re too quick to look to other things to bridge the gap in our lives instead of looking at ourselves and in particular our health. We tend to take that for granted, amongst the many other things.

    1. Thanks Bonnie. Yes, I agree too. I find it sad that we don’t equate stress with our emotions or put importance on our health in this way.

      I think if more of us did, we would all work on trying to stay well for longer.

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