When a colleague takes credit for your great idea or a boss suddenly moves up a deadline, your blood may feel as if it is boiling. Could such instances give you high blood pressure?
While highly charged situations may cause a temporary spike in blood pressure, research has not confirmed that an accumulation of such occurrences leads to long-term problems. Job stress can, however, contribute to unhealthy behaviors that increase the risk of hypertension, such as missing workouts to stay late at the office, eating sodium-filled fast food or worrying too much to sleep properly.
About one in three adults has high blood pressure, though as many as half those people aren’t aware of their condition. The American Heart Association says a normal reading is a systolic (top) number of 120 or less and a diastolic (bottom) number of 80 or less. Blood pressure is officially labeled as high when the top number goes over 140 or the bottom over 90.
- Do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week.
- Know your target weight, and stay within that range.
- Keep sodium intake under 1,500 mg a day. (Packaged and processed foods are major sources of salt.)
- Limit alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women.
- Limit stress by learning how to say “no.”