Have you ever noticed your heartbeat pounding in your ears when you’re nervous? Or maybe you felt your heart racing after a particularly strenuous workout.
Stress — whether it’s emotional or physical — can temporarily elevate your blood pressure, because it releases hormones that make your heart beat faster. A faster heart rate during periods of temporary stress is normal, but chronic stress could have a long-lasting impact on heart health.
About half of all American adults have hypertension, or high blood pressure. Hypertension develops when your blood puts too much pressure on the walls of your arteries over time, and it can contribute to some serious health conditions like heart failure, heart attack, or stroke.
But with the right treatment, you can manage hypertension. Ranjit Grewal, MD, and our team at Houston Family MD offer comprehensive hypertension care, and we’re here to help you manage your risk factors to keep your heart healthy.
Finding the right treatment plan requires understanding how lifestyle factors affect your heart. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the link between stress and hypertension.
How stress influences blood pressure
Stress creates a physical reaction in your body. When you’re under stress, your body releases two stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol into your blood. The hormones send more blood to your body’s core and make your heart beat faster.
Your heart rate returns to normal once the stressful situation passes. These situations cause temporary changes in blood pressure, but they’re not enough to cause chronic high blood pressure or hypertension.
We don’t completely understand how ongoing stress affects heart health, but it is considered to be a risk factor for hypertension. That means experiencing high levels of stress in your daily life might make hypertension more likely.
Stress is closely tied to other health conditions, like anxiety and depression. Some common methods of managing stress, like smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating an unhealthy diet can contribute to hypertension.
Managing stress to improve heart health
In today’s world, stress is unavoidable. But learning healthy ways to manage and reduce stress levels can improve your health and help lower your blood pressure.
Strive to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. Incorporating exercise into your routine offers an abundance of health benefits, including naturally lower blood pressure and lower stress levels.
Revisit your schedule to reduce stress in daily life. Try to give yourself plenty of time to finish important tasks so you don’t feel rushed. If there are activities that take up time but they’re not essential, spend less energy on them or perhaps eliminate them completely.
Consider trying meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to calm your mind. These strategies not only reduce stress in the moment, but they can help you sleep better, which may also lower stress.
Dr. Grewal can make personalized recommendations to help you implement healthier lifestyle choices to improve heart health. If you have hypertension, a combination of lifestyle changes and medication can be very effective in reducing your risk of heart complications.
It’s time to lower your stress levels and boost your heart health. Call our Cypress, Texas, office today at 281-477-0525 or schedule an appointment online to get started. We also offer telehealth appointments for your safety and convenience.