E16: Avoid Chronic Stress – Take Your Blood Pressure (here’s how)

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Episode Summary:

Listen to the full episode on iTunes (and please leave a rating to help the podcast reach more people):  E16: Avoid Chronic Stress – Take Your Blood Pressure (here’s how)

  • Taking your blood pressure is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to measure bodily stress levels.
  • You can buy a blood pressure monitor for your home either online or in a pharmacy for around 100 USD. Most of these will give you good enough readings.
  • Blood pressure changes during the day.
  • Usually your blood pressure is lowest at night while you’re sleeping. A few hours before you wake up it gradually increases until it peaks in the middle of the afternoon. After that it gradually decreases until you go to sleep.
  • In addition, there are many factors that influence your blood pressure such as stress levels at work, whether you just exercised or not, what you ate and how much, if you used stimulants or drank alcohol and many other factors. Generally speaking, the more stress you put on the body and mind the higher your blood pressure will be.
  • When you take readings at the doctor you only see the reading at one specific time of the day. This makes that reading almost useless. In addition, a lot of people suffer from White Coat Syndrome where they get anxious at a doctor’s office and thereby their blood pressure readings are elevated when taken there.
  • When you have a home blood pressure monitor you can experiment with taking it at different times of the day.
  • Usually, you will usually have the lowest blood pressure reading right after waking up in the morning since it’s impractical to take blood pressure while sleeping.
  • The highest blood pressure reading will for most people be in the mid afternoon when your brain is in work mode.
  • It’s a good idea to check your blood pressure both in the morning and when you’re feeling stressed at work so you can see the difference. If your blood pressure get’s very high during your work hours it may be wise to take up meditation and practice relaxation techniques to control your psychological stress and thereby lower your blood pressure.
  • You want to avoid taking your blood pressure right after working out, eating or moving around since it will be high during those times.
  • We recommend that the first week you track your blood pressure after waking up, when you work in the afternoon and a few hours after dinner. Take 3 readings on each arm and then take the average of those 3 on each arm. Track them in an excel sheet. It’s important that you check both arms since there can be a big difference in blood pressure on each side of your body.
  • If you consistently have +120 diastolic blood pressure, +80 diastolic blood pressure, +100 heart rate it may be a problem. A sign you are chronically stressed. You want to have numbers lower than that.
  • Overall, if you get a few good or bad results you can ignore.
  • However, if you regularly have bad results you should see a doctor – even if you have good numbers in between.

– Oskar Faarkrog

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