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Stress and High Blood Pressure with Lupus

In this modern world in which we live and have the constant daily pressures of life, it isn’t easy to avoid stress. Especially when you throw in the added struggles of coping with a chronic autoimmune disease like lupus. I have had my fair share of stress in life and I’ve been finding recently that many different types of stress can have an impact on my body. But especially how stress can affect my lupus.

I had my scheduled appointment with my rheumatologist a few months ago and he always takes my blood pressure which has always been normal, within the 120/80 range. However, this time I was shocked to learn that it was raised to 145/90.

I asked him about this and he didn’t seem too concerned, but when I looked up the reading online it is classed as hypertension stage 2. This alarmed me, but also got me thinking.

Time to rest

My life has become harder to manage since becoming a mom. It’s not so easy to rest when I choose to anymore. I noticed that I was pushing myself a lot harder these days and the self-discipline that I once practised had become more ‘fuzzy’. It’s about trying to find a balance, but I cannot be at my best for my daughter if I’m struggling. So, boundaries are important when it comes to rest and making time for myself.

Adrenaline after injury

I also had a particularly horrible fall when I was on vacation. I tripped over a step in the dark and hurt myself. I was incredibly lucky that I didn’t break my hip as I fell on my left side, although I broke my middle finger and I was in a lot of pain. It was the aftermath of this that left me feeling very peculiar. It was like adrenaline was shooting around my body and I could not sleep for two nights afterwards.

I was silly and never sought medical help at the time. I was in shock and just wanted to go home, so that’s exactly what I did. My body does not cope very well with adrenaline and I don’t think this incident helped my blood pressure.

Triggers for high blood pressure

I had a chat with the nurse at my doctor's surgery and we talked about all of the obvious triggers for high blood pressure. Triggers such as weight, stress and of course the lupus itself that can cause this to be elevated. It has made me very aware that I need to take important steps to try and reduce my blood pressure as it has concerned me.

Managing my stress and blood pressure

One of the changes I'm implementing is my diet. I used to be very good at watching what I ate, however, I’ve noticed that I’ve been more careless of late. I’m tending to ‘grab and go’ without being mindful of what I’m putting in my body. I’m now choosing foods with less refined sugar and more protein.

I’m also trying a daily glass of fresh beetroot juice. My acupuncturist told me that it has been known to reduce blood pressure when taken regularly.

Some other ideas I'm considering for managing my stress and blood pressure are:

  • Meditation
  • Making time for me
  • Listening to music
  • Gentle exercise when I'm able
  • Avoiding unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol and caffeine
  • Getting sufficient sleep
  • Setting realistic goals for myself

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