Studies suggest that chronic stress can negatively affect your heart health. Learn how chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure.
According to a new study, chronic stress is bad for you even if you don’t have any pre-existing conditions. In this 13-year study, researchers analyzed stress levels in 412 people (ages 48 to 87) who didn’t have hypertension.
They examined the participants’ urinary stress levels by measuring cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine – the hormones that deal with stress. Double cortisol levels were associated with a 90% higher risk of a cardiovascular event, regardless of other hormone levels.
An increase in your cortisol levels is natural when you sense danger or threats and should drop when the threat is gone. The other hormones (adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine) regulate the autonomic nervous system and manage involuntary body functions like your breathing.
However, chronic stress disrupts this process and can stop your cortisol levels from dropping back down. As a result, this may compromise your heart health without you even knowing.
How Chronic Stress Can Lead to High Blood Pressure
“We know all those stock, physically oriented methods of reducing stress management, like breathing techniques,” says Therese Rosenblatt, Ph.D. “[However], when you are [experiencing] extreme, gnawing anxiety… it can be hard to even initiate those behaviors.”
According to Akua K. Boateng, Ph.D., a licensed psychotherapist, one way to reduce stress is to focus on minimizing stressors. “When we talk about stress reduction, it comes down to attempting to not personalize all of the stressors at the same time,” says Boateng.
In other words, you need to take the stressors “in doses” and focus on some while putting others on the backburner. Boateng suggests you create boundaries for stress intake, set up supportive spaces preemptively, and deal with one stressor at a time.
For example, if you have a holiday gathering, you can create boundaries by minimizing the need to have the house perfectly clean. You can also set up supportive spaces in the form of therapy sessions or regularly meeting with a friend.
Demanding Stress Reduction
“Nothing manages stress better than actively doing something about it,” says Rosenblatt. However, in some cases, trying too hard to reduce stress can be counterintuitive.
“Stress reduction should relieve the energy within the body, not add to it,” says Boateng. “There are times when a small addition of stress can be beneficial… but overall you should feel better afterward.”
According to Rosenblatt, the best way to deal with stress is to be flexible:
“Decisions we make today, including our personal, social, and work habits, may have to change tomorrow,” she says. “We must accept what we cannot control and direct our energies toward the things we can control. If we assume the mindset that even the near future is unpredictable, we will be better prepared.”
Since heart health can be stressful in and of itself, there are things you can do to help yourself. For example, you can exercise regularly, eat healthily, and take supplements like L-arginine Plus.
As a daily heart supplement, it can effectively promote your circulation, blood pressure health, and more. Stop worrying about your heart health and get that extra boost your body needs by taking L-arginine Plus.