Don’t Let Stress Put You at Risk for Hypertension

Stress is part of everyday life, but the way you handle it—or don’t—can put your health at risk. Many reactions to stress, such as poor sleep, unhealthy eating habits, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle, can raise your risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure). Of course, creating a plan to lower your stress level can help you avoid hypertension altogether, or better manage it if you already have the condition.

Know Your Risk

Hypertension often does not have symptoms, which means you may not know you have the condition until you are screened by a doctor. You should have your blood pressure measured at least once a year, especially if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Family history of hypertension
  • Excess weight
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Type 2 diabetes

Hypertension is Hazardous to Your Health

If left unchecked, hypertension can lead to a number of serious—sometimes life-threatening—conditions, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Vision impairment
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Bone loss

News You Can Use

Stress Tied to Heart Disease, Especially in People Under Age 50

Stress may increase the risk for heart disease, especially in people under age 50. A recent study in The BMJ found that a person with a stress disorder was 29 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than his or her sibling without a stress disorder, and 37 percent more likely than those in the general population.

Veggies, Fruits and Grains Keep Your Heart Pumping

Using health data from some 16,000 people, a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found those who ate plant-based diets reduced their chance of developing heart failure by 41 percent. Those who ate diets high in meat, fried and processed foods had a 72 percent increased risk of heart failure.

Exercise Is Key to Maintaining Weight Loss

People who have lost weight and want to keep it off need regular physical activity, according to a study in Obesity. Three groups of people were analyzed: those who lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for more than a year; those who were of normal weight; and those who were overweight or obese. The study found that the people who had lost weight and kept it off walked about 12,000 steps per day; normal-weight adults registered about 9,000 steps per day; and those who were overweight or obese walked about 6,500 steps per day.

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About Dr. Dunn

Dr. Dunn oversees the 1199SEIU Benefit Funds’ clinical, care management and analytics functions, and is responsible for pursuing health and wellness initiatives and value-based strategies.
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