The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a staggering 48% of individuals in the United States have hypertension, yet only 24% are adequately managing their condition.
Research has identified genetic predisposition, lack of exercise, smoking habits, and poor dietary choices as the primary factors behind elevated blood pressure levels. However, it is noteworthy that stress can also bring about short-term spikes in blood pressure levels.
A research report suggested that the pandemic may have caused higher blood pressure levels for some patients, likely due to reduced physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, more alcohol consumption, and decreased medical check-ups.
The data suggests that there are numerous contributing factors to the pandemic-associated increase in blood pressure. Possible contenders include excessive alcohol intake, decreased physical activity levels, heightened stress or anxiety as a result of such unprecedented times, and reduced medical attention (including medication adherence). However, weight gain is not among them.
As the pandemic has heightened psychosocial stress, it has had a negative effect on managing chronic hypertension. Researchers have found that while job and other stresses can cause momentary spikes in blood pressure, poor lifestyle choices do more long-term harm. According to the American Heart Association, further research is necessary in order to better understand the relationship between stress and high blood pressure.
According to specialists, denying or suppressing our feelings can result in serious health issues such as hypertension, migraines, and chronic fatigue syndrome. So it’s important that we understand and acknowledge the emotions we have – whether conscious of them or not!
Medical professionals believe that mind-body relaxation techniques may temporarily decrease blood pressure. However, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, engaging in physical activity regularly, and getting enough rest each day. Reducing stress through relaxation techniques such as yoga and mindfulness can also help keep our blood pressure within the normal range. In this way, you can avoid the negative implications that come with hypertension.
According to Luke Laffin, co-director of the Center for Blood Pressure Disorders at Cleveland Clinic, “managing blood pressure and stress is largely dependent on lifestyle choices rather than medications.” Indeed, he emphasizes that it’s as much as 70% lifestyle and only 30% medication.