High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. However, if left untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
The study found that the risk of blood pressure grew 30 percent each time stress hormone levels doubled.
Those under long periods of stress find themselves more likely to have heart conditions in the future.
Scientists from Japan’s Kyoto University found that the risk of cardiovascular events, including a heart attack or heart disease, soared by 90 percent every time these levels doubled.
High blood pressure can damage the heart, major organs and arteries over time, increasing the risk of a host of serious conditions.
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When a person is stressed, the body produces hormones like cortisol which put them into ‘fight or flight’ mode.
The primal defence response sees the heart beat faster and blood pressure go up to increase oxygen flow to the muscles.
Once stress has passed, these normally go back to normal.
However, unhealthy habits linked to stress, like eating unhealthily, not getting enough sleep and drinking too much alcohol, can cause long-term high blood pressure.
In the UK, over a quarter of adults have high blood pressure or 14.4million people.
The researchers regularly tested participant’s urine for four stress hormones – norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine and cortisol.
They collected four samples over 14 years, between July 2004 and June 2018.
At each follow-up, participants were also checked for high blood pressure and cardiovascular events including chest pain, having a heart attack or stroke or the need for any artery procedures.
The study, published in the journal Hypertension, found that: “Psychosocial stress is a key contributing factor to the pathogenesis of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.”
According to the team of researchers, the findings highlight a potentially important role of stress hormones in the prevention and treatment of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
Lead author Kosuke Inoue explained: “The next key research question is whether and in which populations increased testing of stress hormones could be helpful.
“Currently, these hormones are measured only when hypertension with an underlying cause or other related diseases are suspected.
“However, if additional screening could prevent hypertension and cardiovascular events, we may want to measure these hormone levels more frequently.”
According to the NHS, if your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as:
- heart disease
- heart attacks
- heart failure
- peripheral arterial disease
- aortic aneurysms
- kidney disease
- vascular dementia
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