The way we feel mentally can have an effect on our heart health, according to a new study from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany.
The researchers studied over 500,000 people in their mid-60s to see if there was a link between mental health, higher blood pressure, and hypertension.
Hypertension is a medical term for high blood pressure.
They found that people with higher blood pressure often had fewer depressive symptoms and felt better overall. This may be because of lower activity in parts of their brain that are involved in emotions.
However, the study also showed that the threat of developing hypertension was linked to poorer mental health, even years before the diagnosis.
The researchers think this link could be because people who feel good mentally but have temporarily higher blood pressure may be more likely to develop permanent high blood pressure over time.
This is because they may have a higher pain threshold, which means they can tolerate more pain and stress without feeling it as much. Then, years later, they may be diagnosed with hypertension.
The study’s authors believe their findings could lead to new ways of thinking about how mental health and physical health are related.
They suggest that a new approach could be to focus on the interaction between mental and physical health when treating and preventing common conditions like depression and hypertension.
It’s important to note that the study doesn’t prove that mental health causes high blood pressure or vice versa.
However, it does highlight the importance of taking care of both our mental and physical health to maintain overall well-being.
How to prevent high blood pressure
There are several ways to prevent or manage high blood pressure. Here are some tips:
Eat a healthy diet: A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products can help lower blood pressure. It’s also important to limit sodium, saturated and trans fats and added sugars.
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Losing weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise can help prevent or manage high blood pressure.
Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure and improve overall health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
Limit alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women should have no more than one drink per day.
Quit smoking: Smoking can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of high blood pressure. Quitting smoking can help lower blood pressure and improve overall health.
Manage stress: Chronic stress can increase blood pressure. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
Take medication as prescribed: If your doctor has prescribed medication to manage high blood pressure, take it as directed. Skipping medication or not taking it as directed can increase the risk of complications.
It’s important to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about high blood pressure and to develop a personalized plan to prevent or manage the condition.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and an effective way to treat resistant high blood pressure.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin B can help reduce drug-resistant high blood pressure.
The study was conducted by H. Lina Schaare et al and published in Nature Communications.
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