Can thinking really cause high blood pressure? So, if as a human you do not think, of what use is your brain? Often times, while breaking the news to patients about their elevated blood pressure, the responses that follow take the form of ‘’it’s expected, I’ve been thinking lately’’ or “this past week has been really stressful, it probably went up due to strain”.
Undisputed, your body produces a surge of hormones when you’re worried or in a stressful situation. While it’s possible that these hormones may temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. There’s no scientific proof that thinking or stress by itself can cause a long-term high blood pressure.
Its agreeable that some patients may experience a phenomenon known as the white coat hypertension, yet, this usually occurs when your blood pressure reading at your nurse or doctor’s office are unusually higher than they are in a different setting. For example when you take your blood pressure reading at home in a relaxing environment and the reading is normal, then your blood pressure jumps up when you get to the hospital.
The situation is regarded as a white coat hypertension since health care professionals are presumed to wear white coats especially in movies. This singularity is a classic example of how anxiety contributes to your blood pressure. Having a white coat hypertension doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll start popping pills for high blood pressure.
Despite the fact that long term stress can influence behaviors that can predispose you to a heart disease for example manners like smoking, sedentary lifestyle, physical inactivity and overeating; all these can build up to a long term damage to your circulatory system. And not necessarily a one-week worry over your house rent or your wife’s antenatal fee.
Thinking about something is a rational process where the dynamics of it creates solutions to erring problems. Fundamentals of our way of life, nature, innovations, and other specifics like activities of daily living are processed through our thinking.
Worrying on the other hand, is a product of negative thinking where implications, faults, cost and other kinds of things trigger sentiments and emotions.
These can craft a loop of cycling thought bordered on ‘why?’ instead of the opposite and more optimistic ‘why not?’. Sometimes these create a cloud of uncertainties over rational thoughts that are supposedly problem solving. Negative thinking leads to more and more worries.
If you let worries overwhelm your thoughts, chances are you wouldn’t think things through thoroughly and your worries may go on unchecked. Worrying can result to panic which would consequently trigger an irrational behavior, irregular heart beat and possibly a stroke or a heart failure.
Whether you’re thinking or worrying, in life, there are bound to be unknowns and potentials. What keeps you afloat is control and expectations. By and large, thinking about your problems keeps you in control of your environment and activities.
Again thinking is a passive activity and does not present a challenge to expectations that would be threatening or trigger fight or flight responses. Consequently, stress hormones that’ll affect your blood pressure and your entire circulatory system are not secreted by your brain.
You’re likely going to denigrate to worrying when your expectations seems not to come to fruition or will not be met and that is an indicator that you’ve lost your basic control. A better way would be to differentiate your thought processes and worrying. The thin line between these two processes would be consciously guiding your thought process.
Thinking often flows with a positive energy, the flow of thought is welcome and inspiring, and eventually would transform the problems into an easily manageable activity or event. Of course defining the lines depends on one’s own interpersonal skills.
Yet, general idea should ring true, your worry mode of thought flow isn’t so easily guided and managed, and may leave you dwelling on things despite your intents to do otherwise.
It’s not clear if anxiety does cause long-term high blood pressure (hypertension). Even though, its evident episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic yet temporary spikes in your blood pressure. Experts believe that ‘if these temporary spikes occur frequently, such as every day, they can cause damage to your blood vessels, heart and kidneys, as can chronic high blood pressure.’
Anxiety triggers your body to release a tidal wave of chemicals and hormones, collectively known as flight-or-fight stress response. Hormones like adrenaline when at large in your system in the short term would increase your pulse, breathing rate and consequently shoots up your blood pressure. This would leave your brain with less oxygen.
As a defense mechanism this prepares you to respond appropriately to an intense situation. Since, you’re a Modern being, excessive fight and flight hormone wouldn’t solve your problem all the time. Man has remarkably evolved and so have our problems and our approach to adaption and problem solving.
WHAT CAN CAUSE A SUDDEN INCREASE IN BLOOD PRESSURE?
Occasionally, there are bound to be spikes, which typically last for just a short period of time. These eventualities can trigger a sudden jump in your blood pressure. Habitually, these are the culprits:
- Thyroid issues (such as overactive or underactive thyroid gland).
- Stress or anxiety.
- Pregnancy-related high blood pressure.
- Overactive adrenal glands.
- Collagen vascular disorders.
- Cocaine use.
- Chronic kidney disease.
- Certain medications (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or combinations of medications
HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
Our bodies are built with hidden alarm buttons. These usually send subtle signals trying to warn you of imminent dangers. When it comes to the symptoms of high blood pressure? Most people are often not aware or grossly ignore their symptoms.
Generally, it’s possible to feel dizzy especially if you’re taking certain blood pressure medication. This can be explained to you by your doctor or nurse as a side effect of some blood pressure medications. Side effects are unwanted effects regardless, it accompanies your treatment.
Yet dizziness could be a classic symptom that your blood pressure has gone over the top. Especially if the onset is sudden, be smart, DO NOT IGNORE THESE SYMPTOMS. Other symptoms that may accompany surging blood pressure may include, but not limited to: loss of balance or coordination and trouble walking unaided. This may also be impending signs of a stroke.
Often patients do not welcome an idea of an elevated blood pressure, some would respond with ‘God forbid’ or ‘it’s not my portion’. If you’re in this class, you might want to pay more attention to your body especially if you’re above 30 years. Prayers and fasting alone would not jettison this silent killer. The early symptom of high blood is still and quiet. That’s why high blood pressure is regarded as a ‘silent killer’.
However, it’s possible to experience a pounding feeling in their head or chest. You may also feel light-headed, pain in the chest, dizziness, or other non-specific signs like confusion or feeling muddled up. Unknowingly, without symptoms, you may be living with a high blood pressure for years. Regular blood pressure check is strongly advised if you have any predisposing factors such as:
WHAT ARE THE PREDISPOSING FACTORS TO HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
- Age: The risk of high blood pressure upsurges as your biological clock ticks. This silent killer until about age 64 are more common in men. As a woman you are more in the offing to develop high blood pressure as you turn 65.
- Being overweight or obese. If you’re one of those that feel light yet your weight almost breaks the weighing scale, you might want to consider shedding a few pounds. In reality, the more you weigh the more blood you’ll need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Besides, extra fat cells in your heart and blood vessels would impede blood circulated through your body and increase the pressure of blood on your artery walls.
- Certain chronic conditions. Usually, as your body ages, certain chronic illnesses also may increase your risk of having a high blood pressure, for example kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
- Excess alcohol intake. While alcohol might give you a false sense of well being, excessive indulgence over time can damage your heart and other vital organs like the liver. No amount of alcohol is safe for you. Moderation might let you hang in for longer, but having more than one drink a day as a woman and more than two drinks a day as a man may affect your blood pressure in the long run.
- Excessive salt (sodium) intake. Adding too much sodium base salt in your diet can cause your body tissue to retain fluid, this invariably increases the amount or water in your blood and of course your blood pressure.
- Family history. If your grandfather or mother was hypertensive, you might want to keep a close watch on your diet and lifestyle. High blood pressure has a tendency to run in families.
- Without or sounding racial, it’s no longer news that high blood pressure is particularly common among people of African heritage. Every so often, high blood pressure may likely develop at an earlier age than it does in people of other race.
- Sedentary lifestyle or not being physically active. Sedentary lifestyle doesn’t only make you clumsy; your inactivity is more likely increase heart rates. This keeps your heart working harder and consequently your heart rate. The harder your heart works with each contraction the stronger it’ll force blood on your arteries.
- Its evident high levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure; you should relax more and eat healthy meals. Identifying your stressors would help you in tackling it.
- Tobacco use. Ever heard the saying, ‘smoking is bad for you? Well, Not only goes smoking or chewing tobacco directly raise your blood pressure temporarily, the chemicals in tobacco or similar products can damage the lining of your heart and artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow, lose it elasticity and increase your risk of heart disease. Second-hand smoke in the form of inhaling the fumes from other people smoking can increase your heart disease risk.
- Too little potassium in your diet. While you might not be aware of a sodium -potassium pump which keeps your body electrolytes balanced. Having adequate potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. Low levels of potassium means your body would accumulate sodium in your blood.
WHAT TIME OF DAY IS BLOOD PRESSURE HIGHEST?
According to experts, your blood pressure is typically lower at night while you’re dozing off. But, it’s likely to increase few hours before you wake up little by little. The pressure of your blood may continue to increase during the day, generally hitting the highest point in the middle of the afternoon as your activities of daily living peaks. Just like a wave your blood pressure begins dropping again towards late afternoon and evening.
CAN LACK OF SLEEP CAUSE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
According to experts, over time, poor sleep habits could hurt your body’s ability to regulate stress hormones. As explained earlier, constant irritation of your circulatory system can have a compounding effect and invariably lead to high blood pressure. Conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea may be the culprit. This can increase your risk of high blood pressure, as well as predisposing you to heart problems and other health issues.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE IS HIGH? 12 AWESOME REMEDIES
- Cut back on caffeine. Although caffeine may temporarily increase your sense of wakefulness and alertness, it can seriously cause uncomfortable symptoms. Intake of over 400 mg of caffeine a day can lead to nervousness, anxiety and high blood pressure.
- Drink less alcohol. Having more than a few drinks in one sitting temporarily upsurges your blood pressure, but repeated binge drinking would inevitably lead to long-term complications
- Eat berries- these sweet buds are packed with polyphenols, natural plant compounds that are good for your heart. Research suggests that polyphenols may improve the function of the inner lining of your blood vessels and may increase protective HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), as well as promote anti-platelet and anti-inflammatory activity.
- Eat dark chocolate or cocoa- moderate intake of dark chocolate and cocoa powder can help with your blood pressure as it is rich in flavonoids which are a plant compound that cause blood vessels to dilate therefore blood flows with less restraint.
- Eat more potassium-rich foods, example banana This can help cancel out the effect of salt in your body.
- Learn to manage stress. As long as you’re alive, encountering stress and stressful situations is not over just yet. Learning and mastering effective ways to manage stress could curb blood pressure spikes.
- Lose weight. Losing a few pounds has the biggest benefit, if you’re overweight and already have high blood pressure. Being overweight and obese increases your chances of a heart disease.
- Quit smoking- While smokingmay not directly cause high blood pressure, it will cause your arteries to narrow and that increases the pressure of blood on the walls or your capillaries and forces the heart to work harder to circulate blood throughout your body.
- Reduce refined sugar and cut down your general carbohydrate intake. Technically, your body runs on carbs, yet ridiculously high levels of these carbohydrates can be toxic and increase your chances of developing diabetes and other terminal diseases.
- Reduce your sodium intake. The more salt in your body, the more your body retains water to dilute the salt.
- Try meditation and deep breathing. These exercises undoubtedly decrease stress, increase calm, reduce pain, increase energy, improve immunity etc.
- Walk and exercise regularly. Exercise doesn’t only release the feel good hormone (endorphins) it makes your heart strong and pumps blood more efficiently.