Stress is often unavoidable 1 When it's not at the workplace, you might find yourself worrying about your children or aging parents. And when stress frequently occurs and for long periods, it can do a lot more than make you feel nervous, moody, or feeling overwhelmed 2 - it may also lead to high blood pressure, causing trouble for your heart 3
Can Stress Increase Your Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure that your blood puts on the walls of your arteries as it is pumped through them 4 Stress, and its effects on your blood vessels and heart can cause high blood pressure because when you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol 5 which is also known as the stress hormone.6 As cortisol is released into your bloodstream, it prepares your body for the fight-or-flight response. It does this by constricting blood vessels and causing your blood pressure to increase 7 When cortisol is released, it can stay in your blood for a while after. This causes the high blood pressure that you may feel when stressed out. 8
Other Negative Effects of Stress:
1. Stress Can Cause You to Feel More Anxious and May Lead to Panic Attacks:9 When your body is in the fight-or-flight response, you may feel more anxious and panicky because cortisol increases your levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline 10, which can increase your heart rate and cause a surge of energy. 11 This means that your heart is working harder than normal, which can lead to high blood pressure if it continues for an extended time.
2. Stress Can Cause You to Lose Sleep 12 Stress can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, which can be a problem for your heart 13 because blood pressure tends to increase during the day and decrease while you sleep. 14 This means that if you don't get enough sleep, your heart may not be working as efficiently. 15
3. Stress can cause weight gain: 16 When there is an excess amount of stress hormones in your blood, such as cortisol and adrenaline, it can cause you to feel hungrier than usual, which can lead to weight gain or obesity 17 This means that not only can stress and its negative effects on your blood pressure make your heart work harder, it can also increase your chances of developing obesity. 18
ConclusionIn conclusion, stress can have various negative effects on the heart and blood pressure. 19 This means that it's very important to find ways to reduce your levels of stress if you experience high blood pressure or cardiovascular issues. From high blood pressure to panic attacks, insomnia, weight gain or loss, and even increased anxiety, stress can have different effects on your body. 20 Stay aware of these changes, so you know how to react appropriately.