Blood pressure is the most common illness all over the world. Blood Pressure means and what high or low blood pressure portends. Well to set the records straight, the heart pumps blood that is circulated throughout the body by vessels called arteries and veins. The arteries take blood away from the heart to all parts of the body, while the veins return this circulated blood back to the heart. In these vessels, the force of flow of the blood generates what is regarded as blood pressure.
However, there are two types of blood pressures: systolic and diastolic.
The pressure generated as the heart beats while pumping is known as the systolic, while the diastolic pressure is the pressure generated by blood returning to the heart through the veins. Thus, it is convenient to say that systolic pressure is the blood pressure in the arteries while diastolic is that in veins.
As with several similar conditions, a thousand factors are indicted in the onset and progression of high blood pressure. Inactivity and unhealthy diets have been the most highlighted risk factors. Most blood pressure medications and advice are always targeted at improving lifestyles such as increased activity and healthy dieting. Recently, however, physicians have discovered that beyond diet and exercise, your mood, emotions, anxieties, worries, fears and joy all contribute, largely, to the risk of high blood pressure. In short, a link seems to have been established between mental and cardiovascular health.
Mounting evidence points to the fact that chronic emotional states such as stress, anxiety, hostility, depression or childhood trauma and loneliness play very important roles in the cause of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. These factors are appearing to be as potent as or even stronger than the conventionally established cardiovascular risks, such as inactivity, smoking, diabetes etc. It is believed that emotional states affect behavior in several ways.
Can Mental Illness Be Associated with High Blood Pressure?
One of the explanations provided for the link observed between mental and cardiovascular health is that chronic emotional states, such as depression, fear or anxiety, stimulate the body’s fight-or-flight mechanism. In response, the blood pressure and blood cholesterol shoots up. When this persists for a long time, chronic high blood pressure could result. Funnily enough, a Newsweek issue stated that the word ‘angina’ (name of one of the symptoms of high blood pressure) shares a common root with the word ‘anger’, that perhaps explains the correlation between emotions and high blood pressure more succinctly.
A clinical study carried out in the United States showed that emotions such as depression probably stimulate the production of certain inflammatory chemicals in the body which are known to cause damage to blood vessels. They explained that in hostile and depressed people, the body tends to produce and build up large volumes of stress hormones, stimulating the immune system to build up inflammation which in turn promotes heart disease at every stage – from high blood pressure to heart attack.
When you hear all the stories about diet and exercise being good for your heart, remember that what you can do to help your heart function healthily and effectively go beyond eating the right food, smoking cessation or regular exercise. A good outlook on life is almost as important. You won’t have to go about with that sore face; a simple smile could help your heart. Happy and humorous people never fall ill; they don’t suffer high blood pressure and other severe disorders, just because they choose to be happy. You would agree it is not so difficult decision to make for being happy without any tension in day to day life.