• By Laurel Kelly

Housecall: Stress and high blood pressure — what’s the connection?

January 6, 2020
stressed man in an office

THIS WEEK'S TOP TOPICS
Stress and high blood pressure
Your body produces a surge of hormones when you're in a stressful situation. These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. There's no proof that stress by itself causes long-term high blood pressure. But reacting to stress in unhealthy ways can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Here are some self-care and stress management techniques that can lead to healthy behavior changes, including those that reduce your blood pressure.

Understanding pain
You may know what it's like to feel pain. What you might not be aware of is the science behind why you hurt. Pain is both physical and emotional. It involves learning and memory. How you feel and react to pain depends on what's causing it, as well as many personal, psychological, emotional and social factors. Fortunately, treatments are available for acute and chronic pain. Here's what you need to know.

EXPERT ANSWERS
Does weight-loss hypnosis work?
When you're under hypnosis, your attention is highly focused and you're more responsive to suggestions, including behavior changes that can help you lose weight. Weight-loss hypnosis may help you shed a few extra pounds when it's part of a weight-loss plan that includes diet, exercise and counseling. Learn more from Dr. Brent Bauer, director of Mayo Clinic's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program.

Does HPV infection cause cervical cancer?
When women are exposed to genital HPV, their immune systems usually prevent the virus from doing serious harm. But in a small number of women, the virus survives for years. Eventually, the virus can lead to the conversion of normal cells on the surface of the cervix into cancerous cells. Learn more from Dr. Tatnai Burnett, a Mayo Clinic OB-GYN.

PLUS ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Chest pain: First aid
Vasovagal syncope
Pseudobulbar affect
Exercise-induced asthma

HEALTHY RECIPES
Salad greens with acorn squash
Creole-style black-eyed peas
Jamaican barbecued pork tenderloin
Almond and apricot biscotti

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
Too sick to exercise?
The common cold doesn't have to keep you on the sidelines. Mild to moderate exercise is usually OK if your symptoms are all above the neck, such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat. However, if your symptoms are below the neck, such as chest congestion, a hacking cough or upset stomach, delay your workout. And don't exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

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