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High blood pressure: Minimise spikes in blood pressure by reducing your stress levels


In reaction to a stressor, the bloodstream is flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause the “fight or flight” response that involves speeding up your heart rate and constricting blood vessels. The American Heart Association (AHA) stated the body’s instinctual response to stress “does raise blood pressure, but only temporarily”. When the stress reaction fades, blood pressure resumes to its pre-stress level.

“You can’t control all the outside events in your life,” said the charity, “but you can change how you handle them emotionally and psychologically.”

This means that you have a choice in how you respond to situations in your life.

Taking time for yourself – even if you’re busy – just to breathe deeply for 10 minutes each day can be a great strategy for mental wellness.

“Give yourself the gift of a healthy lifestyle,” added the AHA. “Engage in physical activity regularly.

Harvard Medical School agree that “reducing stress should be a priority if you’re looking to lower your blood pressure”.

In addition to managing stress levels, Harvard Medical School recommend limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day.

Furthermore, reading nutrition labels are advisable to limit sodium intake. Do check the labels of:

  • Breads and rolls
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Pizza
  • Poultry
  • Soup
  • Sandwiches

There’s a 1,500mg daily limit for individuals with high blood pressure – an equivalent of three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt.


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