Thursday, 13 October 2016

Stress and Blood Pressure Spikes

Yes, stress will lead to increased blood pressure (this will not just be a spike it will be a prolonged response that last the duration of your stress) because your body can not tell the difference between a perceived threat or an actual threat. Meaning your body will respond the same way to either case. If you were to stumble across a lion in the jungle or stress about an absurd deadline while in the office, both cases will lead to the same wide spread physiological response.

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How to low stress of high blood pressure:

You have 2 divisions of the autonomic nervous system; sympathetic ( fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) . Both divisions are always active and can be thought of a balance beam, at times one division can dominate over the other, but generally they are about equal at rest. Most organs of the body are dual innervated by SNS and PNS nerves which gives your body fine control over these organs (equivalent to the 2 pedals of your car, one breaks and one accelerates).

Under stress (stimulating sympathetic response equivalent to your bodies gas pedal) you are creating a wide spread response throughout your body: pupils dialate, inhibition of the digestive system, construction of blood vessels (increase in bp), increased heart rate, and even increased glycogen break down in the liver/skeletal muscles which also lead to increased blood pressure (more glucose in the blood for long periods of time). We evolved these mechanism to be able to maintain a prolonged response when running from a lion or trying to catch food.

The problem is that in the post industrialized area we are promoting the same fight or flight response but for vastly different reasons. Sitting for 4 hours a day makes you 50% more likely to develope cardiovascular disease and a prolonged sympathetic stimulation will only add to this chance. You could rely on medication, but you are not addressing the cause of your problem. Breathing techniques can be used to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and help restore you to the appropriate balance between the 2 extremes.

In conclusion, I would recommend meditation or other coping mechanisms that teach you how to perceive stress in a more beneficial way.

Your body can only respond in the way the stimulus is interpreted by the mind (at the cerebral cortex) so If you learn to perceive stress in a different way it will have profound impacts on your body and you won't have to rely on drugs.

High Blood Pressure Stress

Most everyone believes stress, the underlying cause of most disease, also causes hypertension. Guess again. The medical jury is still out. This is a real medical conundrum. While stress doesn?t directly cause hypertension, systemic organ damage due to prolonged stress can cause hypertension.

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Does Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?

Scientific research has shown an increased risk of hypertension as a result of long term stress. Scientific research is also quick to point out that excess stress itself leads to other contributing factors of hypertension. For example, overly stressed people generally tend to self-medicate by over-eating, smoking, drinking alcohol and ignoring normal exercise routines. These unhealthy habits create more stress as the immune system gets bogged down, creating a vicious cycle.

An established role stress plays in elevating blood pressure is the temporary increase in blood pressure levels during times of high stress. Blood pressure levels revert to normal once the source of this stress, often referred to as “situational stress,” is removed.

In my book, Stress Rx: 103 Prescriptions for Overcoming Stress and Achieving Lifelong Happiness, I provide anecdotes and awareness antidotes to relieve and release stresses before stress becomes chronic. There is a proven correlation between chronic stress and changes in the way blood clots. Clotting abnormalities can increase the risk of heart attack. Chronic or prolonged stress also prevents elevated blood pressure levels from

receding. This perpetuates raised hormone levels of adrenaline and cortisol, poisoning the system and damaging the organs, as well as increasing the risk for stroke and heart attack.

Common stressors include financial strain, relationship turmoil, job related stress and emotional unrest. Regardless of the cause of the stress, the outcome is the same. Extended stress stimulates the nervous system, which causes arteries to tighten and increases blood pressure. Finding solutions to take much needed “stress breaks” is mandatory for the stabilization of blood flow and pressure.

Remember, stress can be mental, physical or a combination of both. When stress takes us into the flight-or-fight response, glucose and fat cells flood the blood. If stress levels are sustained over long periods of time rather than brief instances, as intended by this mechanism, then high glucose levels are the result.

Warning signs of being “stressed out” include:

• Mental — worry, lack of concentration and creativity, difficulty making decisions, forgetfulness, lack of interest in life in general

• Physical — headaches, digestive problems, anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, tension, dizziness, shakiness, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

• Emotional — depression, bouts of crying, mood swings, anger, sadness, nervousness, irritability

• Behavioral — overeating, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, judgmental attitude, withdrawal from social activities

While change is inevitable, it is usually not easy. Preventive change through stress reduction techniques that include meditation, tai chi / qigong, exercise, green diet and the cultivation of peace, love and compassion for oneself and others will keep the blood flowing freely and normalize pressure both in your life and blood.