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.