Blood pressure is a real concern for many Americans. Whether it’s too low or too high, either end of the spectrum can lead to serious health consequences. Stress is a large factor, which can contribute to your fluctuating blood pressure numbers, and that is why it’s so important to properly manage your stress if you want healthy blood pressure.
There are many other factors, too, which can affect your blood pressure, including weight and diet, but if you exercise regularly and have your sodium levels in check, you may want to look at the stress in your life as a possible cause of your uncontrolled numbers.
Stress in adolescent years linked to high blood pressure in adults
A study conducted by Casey Crump from Stanford University followed over 1.5 million 18-year-old men who were all conscripted into the army in Sweden between 1969 and 1997. When the young men entered the army, none of them had high blood pressure. Furthermore, the men were interviewed to determine their stress resilience levels.
The men were asked a variety of questions in order to obtain a stress resilience score. Questions asked involved topics like school, home, emotional stability, conflicts, and successes, to name a few. A score of nine was considered high stress resilience.
Between 1969 and 2012, nearly 93,000 men were diagnosed with high blood pressure with average age of diagnosis being 49 years old.
The researchers found that a low stress resilience score at the age of 18 was associated with an increased risk of future blood pressure, compared to those with a higher score. Men in the bottom 20 percent of scores had a 40 percent greater risk of high blood pressure as adults, compared to those in the top 20 percent of scores.
Even if you can’t turn back the clock and ensure you cope with stress well at the age of 18, it’s still important to manage stress at whatever age you are currently at, as it can still play a role in your blood pressure numbers.
Tips to reduce stress naturally
Stress doesn’t just target your blood pressure. It can play a negative role in many other aspects of health, like disrupting your sleep, negatively impacting your heart, and weakening your immune system. With stress being such a large factor for negative health outcomes, it’s important that you do what you can to lower it. Here are some tips to naturally lower stress and, in turn, help your blood pressure:
- Exercise and perform physical activity.
- Become social and avoid loneliness and isolation.
- Avoid unnecessary stress – caused by people or situations.
- Alter the situation – speak your mind and express your feelings instead of bottling them up.
- Accept what you cannot change.
- Partake in activities you enjoy and have fun.
- Take time out for yourself.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle – eat well, reduce caffeine, minimize alcohol, and don’t smoke.
By following some of these tips, you can better fight against stress and lower your risk of all the negative health effects which stress comes along with.