Even Mild Stress Can Raise Blood Pressure

It's been clear for some time that psychological stress is linked to high blood pressure, or hypertension, but the reason is unknown.

And until recently, investigations of a stress-hypertension link have been conducted in laboratories, using staged activities such as public speaking and mental arithmetic to "stress out" participants.

Now, in a "real-world" setting, a research team in Italy has confirmed that mild stress can increase blood pressure and impair the cardiovascular system's ability to regulate itself.

These changes might contribute, in susceptible individuals, to the link between psychological stress and increased cardiovascular risk of hypertension.

The scientists detected the changes using a technique called autonomic assessment, which measures alterations in the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls blood pressure, the heart's rhythm and its ability to contract, and other important bodily functions.

Changes in autonomic function can be detected by computerized analysis of beat-by-beat cardiovascular variability on an electrocardiogram.

They confirmed that students were stressed on exam days, based on their responses to psychological questionnaires, their saliva levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and their saliva levels of cytokines, proteins the immune system releases when the body is stressed.

The students' blood pressure and heart rate were markedly higher on the exam day than on the vacation day, the researchers determined. Other autonomic measures, such as heart rate variability, a measure of the heart's ability to handle stress, were also elevated on exam day.

For example, he pointed out, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors inhibit an important component of the autonomic nervous system, called the sympathetic nervous system. Conversely, calcium-channel blockers, a different class of antihypertensive drugs, boost the sympathetic nervous system. Autonomic assessment could make it clear whether a patient's sympathetic nervous system is adequate or needs to be enhanced or suppressed.

Hypertension 2002;139:184-188

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It has been previously shown that people with heart disease can lower their risk of subsequent cardiac events by over 70% if they learn how to manage stress.

I am clinically convinced that the vast majority of heart disease and cancer is foundationally related to unresolved emotional conflict. The study described above clearly seems to support this notion.

Suppressed emotions, such as anger, fear, and sadness, that are not fully transformed will severely limit one's ability to cope with the normal stresses of life. It is not so much the stress that kills us, but our impaired ability to cope with it. Emotional and spiritual transformation are probably the keys to resolving this.

Fortunately, the technology now exists to rapidly and effectively transform these emotions. We do it every day in our office with EFT and other bioenergetic tools.

Through extensive research I have found another tool to use in the area of stress management that is a remarkably effective and efficient (and very affordable) way to help you achieve inner peace and significantly reduce stress and anxiety.

The Insight audio CD, which I personally listen to and now recommend to my patients, is an exceptional tool to help you target the daily stresses in your life that act as prime contributors to all forms of diseases.

Related Articles:

Domineering, Irritable People At Risk For Heart Disease

Anger Test May Identify Those at Risk of Heart Attack

How Stress Affects Your Heart and Gut Health

Post your comment
Click Here and be the first to comment on this article