Stress and Hypertension
Investigating Post Traumatic Effects

It must be common knowledge by now that stress and hypertension go hand in hand. But it is extremely disturbing to learn that millions of people worldwide can become hypertensive through traumatic emotional stress induced by an act of terrorism.

The September 11 terrorist attack was an extreme and horrific scene to witness, as millions of us looked on in shock before our TV screens watching this act of wickedness unfold.

3,497 people lost their lives. Besides people who worked in the twin towers, rescuers and people near by died also. But a health disaster still follows in its wake. Not only are rescuers and others facing the effects of asbestos and other harsh material and chemical exposure, we are now learning that it has also having its toll on those who suffered trauma, a cause of stress. The after effects of shock and horror have been studied by health researchers. Here is what they have found.

A Rise in High Blood Pressure

A National study was undertaken for a 3 year period of the effects of acute stress on the cardiovascular system brought about by terrorism.

The study was led by Holman EA at the University of California.

2729 adults were involved in the trials, of whom 95% had completed an online survey of their health records prior to 9 11. They were assessed for acute stress symptoms 14 days after the attack, and then each consecutive year for 3 years their health records from the physicians of these participants were assessed.

The results showed 53% increased incident of cardiovascular problems over that period of 3 years. Even when they had taken into account the pre-9 11 records of all the lifestyle factors that could have had an impact on their mental and physical health, there was clearly a marked increase in the level of acute stress following the terrorist attacks, and physicians noted a sharp rise in hypertension, heart incidents, and stress complaints of those involved in the tests throughout those 3 years.

The September 11 terrorist attack has been etched into our memories and will no doubt stay there raising levels of stress and hypertension, but the long term effect it has had on many of us, leaves us in fear and insecure no matter where we live. We are constantly wary about future inhuman acts of terrorism.

What will help us in this stress-laden world? Can relaxation exercises and nutrition make a difference? A little! Hope of a better world is what we need to fix our minds on. One that only God can bring about. (The Holy Bible – 2 Peter, chapter 3, verse 13)

In the mean time, we can express love and care to our neighbors around us, no matter what their nationality, faith, or color. That most of all will prove to be healthful in reducing stress and hypertension in these perilous days. In fact all our cardiovascular system can benefit, especially our heart and mind.