What is Hypertension and what causes it?
Hypertension means that you have too much pressure in your blood vessels which can damage your blood vessels and lead to other health problems.
Do you know anybody around you who has hypertension? The answer is likely yes, as hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a fairly common problem in Singapore. Slightly less than 1 in 4 Singapore residents aged 30 to 69 years have hypertension. The older you are, the more likely you are to have hypertension. In the 60 – 69 years age group, more than 1 in 2 persons have hypertension.
Some studies have also been able to loosely link high blood pressure to mental health issues. In fact, the Canadian Mental Health Association even discovered that people with poor mental health are more likely to develop chronic physical conditions like hypertension, and opposite is also true; people with chronic physical conditions are more likely to suffer from mental health issues.
Does our mood affect our blood pressure?
It is common for people who are anxious to smoke, drink excessively, and gain weight; all of which promote hypertension and heart disease. Dr. Sheldon G. Sheps of Mayo Clinic stated that episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic, temporary spikes in your blood pressure and that if those temporary episodes occur daily, they can cause damage to your blood vessels, heart and kidneys.
An American Psychological Association’s article also stated that when people do not express their anger properly it can lead to an inward expression that can cause health issues like high blood pressure, hypertension and depression.
So it seems that not managing our anxiety and anger well can indeed lead to elevated blood pressure and possibly hypertension.
What can I do?
Try managing your moods. Ask yourself at least three times a day how you are feeling. If you are anxious or angry, try writing down a list of things you are angry or worried about. Review your list and ask yourself which of the items you can take action to improve. Write an action plan for those items and let go of the other items, knowing that you must accept certain things in life that cannot be changed. Taking control of the items that anger you or cause you anxiety will likely leave you with a sense of control that should work to alleviate your anger, anxiety and blood pressure!
Check your blood pressure at home and visit your doctor regularly so as to keep a closer watch on your blood pressure and ensure that your levels aren’t too high. Here are the HPB acceptable blood pressure levels you can measure your blood pressure against.
Lead a healthy lifestyle by managing and reducing your excess weight, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising for 150 mins a week, avoiding alcohol consumption and smoking.
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