Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure? 6 Ways To Reduce It

can stress cause high blood pressure
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Being stressed in our daily life due to several situations is normal but can stress cause high blood pressure is the ultimate question.

Before understanding the relationship between stress and high blood pressure, let’s find out more about high blood pressure and stress.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension, is a frequent disorder in which the blood’s constant force on the artery walls is strong enough to produce health problems like heart disease.

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The volume of blood our heart pumps and the degree of resistance to blood flow in our arteries influence our blood pressure. The higher blood pressure is caused due to our heart pumping more blood in the narrower arteries than normal.

Blood pressure is determined using two terms:

  • Systolic Blood Pressure: The upper number represents the maximum pressure our heart exerts when it is beating.

  • Diastolic Blood Pressure: The lower number shows the pressure in our arteries between beats.

The pulse pressure is calculated by the difference between Systolic and diastolic pressure.

Reading of blood pressure is shown in millimeters of mercury (mm of Hg). The usual blood pressure range is taken as 120/80 mm of Hg.

Though many people suffering from high blood pressure cannot identify it until it becomes life-threatening, which is why it is called “the silent killer.” Once the blood pressure reaches 170-180/100-120 or above, some of the symptoms and signs people experience are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Nosebleeds
  • Double Vision or blurred vision

Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises your risk of significant health problems such as stroke and heart attack, which gives evidence to the argument of “can stress cause high blood pressure?”


A sensation of physical or mental strain is referred to as stress. Any incident or idea that makes you annoyed, furious, or anxious might trigger it.

Your body’s response to a challenge is called stress. Stress may be beneficial in small doses, such as when it helps you escape danger or make a deadline. Stress becomes harmful to your health if it persists for an extended period.

can stress cause high blood pressure
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A typical physiologic response to a potentially harmful circumstance is stress. When you are suddenly stressed, your brain releases chemicals and hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline into your body.

This causes your heart to beat quicker and supply blood to your muscles and vital organs. You’re energized and more aware of your surroundings, allowing you to concentrate on your current demands.

These are the many stages of stress and how people cope with them.

Releases of Hormones

The hypothalamus, which is present at the base of the brain, reacts when a dangerous situation arises. It transmits nerve and hormone impulses to your adrenal glands, causing them to release many hormones. Adrenaline and cortisol are the major ones that cause many effects on the body.

These stress hormones are your body’s method of preparing you for danger and increasing your survival chances.

  • Adrenaline

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, or the fight or flight hormone, has the following functions:

  • Insulin production is restricted
  • Stimulated sweating
  • Raise your heart rate
  • Constricts blood arteries, and hence blood moves to the muscles 
  • Make glucose utilization easier for your muscles
  • Increase your pace of breathing

While the functions of adrenaline are helpful in many stressful situations, it can negatively affect our body in the following ways:

  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Hypertension(High Blood Pressure)
  • Damage in Blood Vessels
  • Increased risk of stroke and heart attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Cortisol

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone and plays a significant and effective role in stressful situations. Cortisol performs the following functions in the body:

  • Modifying the immune system’s reaction
  • Increases the availableness of chemicals that helps in tissue regeneration
  • The reproductive system and the growth process are both slowed
  • Assisting the brain in making better use of glucose
  • Increasing the quantity of glucose in your bloodstream
  • Limiting non-essential activities in a life-threatening circumstance
  • The parts of the brain controlling fear, mood, and motivation are affected.

The above-mentioned functions are helpful in stressful situations, but they can become a problem when they persist for too long. The negative effects of cortisol on our body are mentioned below:

  • Inability to sleep
  • Weight gain
  • Osteoporosis
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Brain fog
  • Memory problems
  • Weak immune system
  • The overall mood is dampened

Types of Stress

There are many different types of stress, the major one beings:

  • Acute Stress

Acute stress is a sort of stress that lasts for a short period and can be either excellent or negative; acute stress is the type of stress we are most likely to face in our daily lives.

Everyone experiences acute stress. It’s the body’s first response to a new and challenging environment.

Acute stress might sometimes arise from doing something you like on a roller coaster or skiing down a high mountain slope. You can feel it when you suddenly slam on the brakes of your car or have a dispute with your partner.

can stress cause high blood pressure
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Typically, these occurrences of acute stress are not harmful in any way. They could even be beneficial to your health. Stressful experiences teach your body and brain how to respond most effectively to future stressful situations.

When a life-threatening situation arises, severe acute stress could occur, which forms into post-traumatic stress disorder-PTSD or other mental health problems.

  • Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a type of stress which occurs when you experience elevated stress levels over a lengthy period. Chronic stress might be harmful to your body.

Chronic stress is a type of stress that appears to be never-ending and unavoidable, such as the stress of a broken marriage or a physically demanding profession; chronic stress can also result from catastrophic events and childhood traumatic events.

Chronic stress causes various symptoms, including headaches, stomachaches, and sleep disturbances. But can stress cause high blood pressure? If left untreated, chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure.

Stress and High Blood Pressure

The question arises once again that can stress cause high blood pressure? The evidence for the relation of stress promoting high blood pressure is very little in the long run. However, improper stress reactions might put you at risk for elevated blood pressure and other heart conditions.

Smoking, drinking alcohol, substance abuse, and unhealthy eating habits are some habits people adopt after suffering from stressful events.

can stress cause high blood pressure
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Blood pressure can rise significantly as a result of stress. When you’re no longer stressed, your blood pressure returns to normal.

Even frequent, brief blood pressure increases, on the other hand, can harm your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys in the same way that long-term high blood pressure does.

Can stress cause high blood pressure? It is a question of wide range as the contributors to stress also contribute to raising the blood pressure.

Stress-Reducing Activities to lower Blood Pressure

In the long run, lowering your stress level may not immediately reduce your blood pressure. On the other hand, using stress management practices can help you enhance your health in various ways.

Learning stress management strategies can lead to positive behavior changes, such as blood pressure reduction.

  • Yoga and Meditation

There is no better way to reduce stress and detox your body than by doing yoga and meditation. Try including yoga into your daily routine; meditation practices can be done at any time of the day.

can stress cause high blood pressure
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  • Physical Activities

Exercising, running, jogging or any physical activity like swimming could be done. It will have dual benefits. Your physical, as well as mental health, will be benefited.

  • Breathing Exercises

If you encounter a stressful situation and feel you are losing control, try taking deep and long breathes.

can stress cause high blood pressure
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  • Reschedule your days

No task scheduled for your day is more important than your mental health. Try eliminating activities from your days that are not important. Never rush your schedule, as it will increase stress levels.

can stress cause high blood pressure
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  • Quality of Sleep

Good quality of sleep is a powerful remedy to reduce stress. Take plenty of rest and try not to fall asleep with negative thoughts on your mind to get sound sleep.

  • Healthy Lifestyle

Change your eating habits, make your diet filled with nutrition. Do not consume too much alcohol and do not practice smoking. 

Can Stress Cause High Blood Pressure?

The answer to the question, can stress cause high blood pressure, is unknown as there are no direct links between stress and elevated blood pressure, but stress is a contributor to causing Hypertension.

Stress also causes other mental health diseases like anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders which also contribute to the symptoms of Hypertension. 

In the end, the answer to the question can stress cause high blood pressure is a maybe. Stress may or may not lead to increased levels of blood pressure.

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While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. 

Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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