Hypertension, AKA high blood pressure is rampant today. With an increase in obesity and sedentary living, along with plenty of fast and processed food, it is no wonder. Most people reading this will either have high blood pressure or know a friend or family member who does.
The connection between high blood pressure and stress is real. Whether it be relationship stress, job stress or even financial stress. It can all contribute to elevated blood pressure.
Here are some facts about high blood pressure that everyone should know.
1. High BP is silent
Hypertension does not cause any overt symptoms. This means that dangerous health conditions such as damage to blood vessels or a heart attack or stroke can occur without warning.
2. Hypertension can cause serious damage to the heart
High blood pressure is increased pressure. For those who don’t quite understand what this means, try turning up the water pressure in the shower and see what happens. This might feel fine at first, but at a certain point, it starts to hurt. Now imagine the heart being exposed to this 24 hours a day seven days a week without relent.
The heart muscle has to enlarge in order to accommodate the increased pressure. With more muscle tissue, the size of the chambers in the heart will shrink. This leaves less room for blood to fill the heart, decreasing the amount of blood sent to the body with each beat.
Organs will struggle for blood and oxygen and start to fail. Furthermore, the blood will back up behind the heart as the heart can’t pump as well as it used to. This blood will cause the blood vessels in the lung to swell, causing lung damage.
Furthermore, the blood will back up behind the heart as the heart can’t pump as well as it used to. This blood will cause the blood vessels in the lung to swell, causing lung damage.
3. High blood pressure damages the kidneys
The kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins out of the bloodstream. These toxins end up in the urine where they are eliminated from the body. Besides the heart and lungs, the kidneys receive the third most blood supply of any organ. This means that the pipes that carry blood to the kidneys are very large.
The kidneys have to filter all of the toxins out of the blood before the blood leaves the kidneys. With high blood pressure, the pipes swell and there is more blood to filter. The kidneys have to work overtime to get the job done.
Eventually, they get tired and damaged. They start to fail as they can’t complete their job. The toxins start to remain in the bloodstream, causing severe damage and eventually requiring dialysis to filter the blood and possibly a kidney transplant.
4. Hypertension can cause severe internal bleeding
If not addressed, high BP will continue to get worse. Normal BP is between 100 to 120 systolic (top number) over 60-80 diastolic (bottom number). Anything over 140 is considered too high (120-140 is pre-high BP). This is where medications should be started.
If people don’t notice because they don’t check their BP, this will continue to rise. If the number starts to push 200, the pressure is too high for the pipes to handle. The pipes begin to break, similar to the plumbing in your house when the water pressure is cranked up. One of the most common places the hemorrhaging begins is in the brain. This leads to brain bleeding and hemorrhage, which can cause severe neurological dysfunction, coma, or even death.
5. Hypertension can be caused by stress
Everyone knows that when they are nervous or stressed out, their heart starts to beat faster. As a result, the BP starts to rise as well. This is because of the body’s adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, release hormones called catecholamines in response to stress. These hormones help to wake you up and keep you focused on the problem at hand. These hormones work on the brain as well as the heart, making your heart beat faster, and your blood vessels, helping to raise BP. The body is doing this to increase blood flow to muscles to supply oxygen in case physical activity is needed.
Unfortunately, stress isn’t always athletic or physical in nature. For many people, stress in life is caused by financial problems. Everyone thinks about money. It represents our livelihood, it determines what we can and cannot do, and it also represents the financial safety and security for our loved ones.
Because financial strain can impact our stress levels which in turn can raise blood pressure, it is important to adopt healthy strategies for dealing with your finances. If necessary, speak to a professional financial planner who can help get you started on the right road.
Remember: High blood pressure can sneak up on someone, make sure it is checked regularly at doctor’s visits. Second, finance can cause stress. Make sure the family’s finances are safe and secure. If advice is needed, seek someone who is a fiduciary. They are legally required to act in your best interest.