February is American Heart Month, designed to raise awareness about heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among Americans.

In recognition of this month, our team at AFC Urgent Care Fountain City wants to share some information about how your blood pressure specifically can increase your risk of heart disease. Read on as we examine the issue.

Why Does High Blood Pressure Matter?

Blood pressure is the force with which blood is flowing through your blood vessels. When your blood pressure is too high, it can negatively impact your heart in many ways.

For one, blood coursing too forcefully through the arteries can damage them, causing blockages. High blood pressure also causes the heart to have to work harder to pump blood throughout the body.

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

  • Increased age
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Excess weight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Tobacco use
  • Too much salt in your diet
  • Too little potassium in your diet

How Does Stress Raise Your Blood Pressure?

While it’s not mentioned above as a risk factor, stress can certainly play a role in determining your blood pressure. A small amount of stress is normal and healthy. But too much can be dangerous to your health.

When you’re stressed, your body produces a flurry of hormones that temporarily boost your blood pressure. If you’re chronically stressed or manage your stress poorly, this blood pressure increase can become chronic, too. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Ways to Manage Stress

  • Avoid triggers when possible.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days.
  • Smile or laugh to release stress.
  • Get social support.
  • Meditate or perform another calming activity.

Do you think you might have high blood pressure? Stop by AFC Urgent Care Fountain City today in order to obtain a blood pressure reading!