Do you struggle with stress on a regular basis? Are you worried about how this stress can affect your overall health? Because high-pressure situations can raise your blood pressure, it’s important to be aware of how your health can potentially be at risk.
Dr. Henock Saint-Jacques has years of experience providing cardiovascular care at Harlem Cardiology. If you’re concerned about your stress levels, he can help you learn how to change your lifestyle habits and take better care of yourself.
What high blood pressure is
Also called hypertension, high blood pressure develops when your blood pumps more forcefully than necessary through your arteries, to a point that it can cause them damage.
You won’t notice the effects of high blood pressure as it’s developing, but left neglected, it can increase your chance of heart attack or stroke down the road.
How stress affects your blood pressure
Your body produces more hormones when you’re under stress, causing your heart to work overtime. As this happens, your blood vessels constrict, making it harder for the blood to flow properly. Unless you get treatment, or perhaps change some lifestyle habits, you could risk damaging your arteries. Over time, this can increase your chance of developing heart disease.
Decreasing your stress allows your blood pressure to return to normal. But when these temporary increases in blood pressure happen on a regular basis, the damage can be long-term.
How to reduce your blood pressure
Making lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to decrease your risk of developing heart problems. If you find yourself in stressful situations often, you may want to consider avoiding them — or perhaps seek therapy to discuss what triggers your stress so often.
You can also keep healthy by exercising regularly, not smoking (or quitting), drinking less alcohol, eating healthily (especially by reducing the amount of salt), and maintaining a healthy weight.
Depending on your condition, Dr. Saint-Jacques may recommend medication for managing your blood pressure. You also benefit from an EKG — an electrocardiogram — that can detect internal problems with your heart that may be causing you increased blood pressure.
Learn more about how stress affects your blood pressure
While stress can be a part of life, regular stress that spikes your blood pressure is concerning. If you’re worried about the effects of stress on your health, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Saint-Jacques by calling 646-381-2181. You can also request an appointment using the online scheduler, or you can send the team a message here on the website.