November 3

Stress relief that also helps with high blood pressure


Who is not stressed these days? No wonder the accompanying high blood pressure is taking its toll worldwide. Before we look at what you can do about both, here are a few words about stress and its link to blood pressure.

How can high blood pressure develop as a result of stress?

According to modern lifestyle medicine, an approach that takes the whole lifestyle into account when treating diseases, 8 out of 10 diseases are caused by our lifestyle. And what are the general characteristics of this modern lifestyle? Overwork, insufficient rest, constant information overload and an over-complicated schedule: frankly, this is the state of most of us living at the beginning of the 21st century. We are making ourselves ill with the way we are currently living!

Mind you, it has not always been this way. Originally, stress was a useful, even vital, response to pressing environmental stimuli, allowing an automatic and immediate reaction to external threats. Our ancestors – for instance, fleeing from the saber-toothed tiger – were well served by this adaptive principle. In a sudden crisis situation, blood pressure increased and blood circulation and respiration accelerated, making the body more efficient in its use of energy and ready to flee or fight in a split second.

Today, however, our bodies, 'tailored' to these simpler circumstances, are exposed to other, more indirect and complex, perceived and real dangers, which are hardly helped by the stress-based boosting of vital functions. We are no longer frightened by real saber-toothed tigers, but by the pressures of deadlines, our various worries, work and family responsibilities and the negative thoughts to which most of us are exposed – and against which neither a pounding heart nor tense muscles can really help at all.

So even if one has a healthy vascular network, one can develop high blood pressure due to stress, which inevitably wreaks havoc on healthy blood circulation.

So what can you do about stress (and high blood pressure)?

The link between high blood pressure and stress describes the relationship between body and mind. In fact, they are not two separate, independent systems, but two sides of the same coin: our complex human being. Therefore, we need to approach this two-faced problem from both the side of the body and the soul to find solutions to both sides.

1. As far as the psychological factor is concerned, intervention is vital, as modern stress is usually triggered by the threat of our own personal 'shadow tigers', i.e. dark, disturbing thoughts that are hard to escape. To deal with these, it is worthwhile to start meditating, practising breathing therapy or at least becoming aware of a great truth...

And what does this great truth say? Well, it says that it is always up to us to decide what meaning and significance we attach to external influences and how we view our circumstances. In fact, no one and nothing else can upset us from the outside, and put or keep us under psychological pressure, if we ourselves do not actively contribute to it by the way we interpret the situation.

No power in the world can force you to take bad things to heart. So stubbornly resist stressing yourself out over your life situations!

2. Easier said than done? Even if we can't so quickly improve our mental health, by maintaining the health of our blood vessels we can significantly reduce the negative effects of stress-induced high blood pressure and the risk of stroke and heart attack.

What usually happens nowadays, of course, is that the doctor prescribes antihypertensives in an attempt to postpone the negative, or even destructive, effects of high blood pressure. But it is important to know that this is only a symptomatic solution and does not solve the root cause of the problem, but merely temporarily adjusts some 'levels'.

What else can be done on the physical side?
From a lifestyle point of view, you can approach the problem by trying to change your lifestyle in parallel with taking the medication you were prescribed: more exercise, sport, more attention to fluid intake can all help to achieve great results. And consuming antioxidant vitamins and flavonoids through a healthy diet (and not tasteless pills!) can work wonders.

Prevention can be aided by a good, heart-friendly diet, supplemented with plants that specifically help to keep arteries, veins, and capillaries elastic – as well as protect the vascular wall. The bioactive compounds in blueberries and blackcurrants help to increase the elasticity of blood vessels, while elderberries, a favourite in folk medicine, help to normalise circulation.

Don't have time to procure and consume large quantities of guaranteed organic blueberries, elderberries, blackcurrants, and chanterelles every day? Then choose Purfit by InnoFit as a natural way to protect your heart and blood vessels.

Do your best to avoid strokes and heart attacks, and always remember: neglecting the health of your blood vessels can easily end in tragedy!

Erzsébet Mihalikné Krémer

Health educator and creator of the InnoFit product family