Hypertension and Stress: A Different Way of Thinking
I had a very interesting and
thought-provoking request a little while ago. The gentleman (I will call
him Bill) had gone to his doctor with Meniere’s Disease symptoms. In the
course of the conversation, it became apparent that he was under some
stress and his blood pressure was a bit elevated. He left with a
prescription for an antihypertensive drug and the understanding that there
was nothing much to be done with his Meniere’s Disease symptoms. As well,
a relative had Meniere’s Disease. So it was also alluded to Bill that this
condition was probably hereditary. Bill did receive what I perceive to be
the traditional medical treatment. His doctor was obviously trying to
prevent possible cardiac problems.
As usual, and specifically in this
case, I am going to ask you not to use this information except for your
own learning and thinking. Please do not diagnose yourself. what I am
proposing is a different set of questions to ask. That might be a bit
contrary to what you normally do. This is thinking outside traditional or
routine “box”. This is also NOT meant to offend any health care
professional. I simply want you to challenge your thinking: to rely on
your own powers of deduction and observation. In fact I want to turn this
whole idea upside down.
Let’s discuss Hypertension,
Disease, and Stress individually and then as a combination or related
group. I am using a regular medically-acceptable site called
If you don’t already use it, I would urge
you to do so for your own research when you need some easy-to-understand
descriptions. The encyclopedia section is the best area for this purpose.
To search for
Hypertension on Medline, please click here.
Hypertension is recognized when the top
number in a “blood pressure” reading is 140 (systolic) and higher and the
bottom number is 90 and higher (diastolic). That is considered high blood
pressure: “hypertension” in medical terminology. Nowadays some doctors
feel normal blood pressure should be lower than that and many doctors feel
a drug to prevent higher pressure from developing, is in order.
doctors try to find the underlying causes: many give prescriptions more
readily. Your doctor may recommend and encourage lifestyle
changes including weight loss, exercise, and nutritional changes,
especially a reduction in the use of salt. Salt is seen as retaining
fluids and is suspect as a possible contributor to hypertension.
Here is an article that
gives you more information about
Usually, high blood pressure has no symptoms at all, but in my experience,
many people have tinnitus or ringing in the ear at higher levels.
Meniere’s Disease is not a household
name…that is until it visits and resides in your home! In order to
understand and appreciate Meniere’s Disease, you have to know the classic
symptoms. They include tinnitus,
ear pain or pressure, vertigo and or
hearing loss or fluctuation.
Meniere’s Disease is also involved in some controversy as to its name(s)
and treatments. So I will stay with the traditional mainstream symptoms
and suggested treatment.
Stress is defined as Anxiety; Feeling
uptight; Stress; Tension; Jitters; Apprehension.
“Stress can come from any situation or
thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. What is
stressful to one person is not necessarily stressful to another. Anxiety
is a feeling of apprehension or fear. The source of this uneasiness is not
always known or recognized, which can add to the distress you feel.”
In case you have never heard of Meniere’s
Disease before, I want to give you a tiny bit of insight through this
article. At the beginning, I mentioned Bill’s visit to his doctor. He had
already had his Meniere’s Disease symptoms for some time. Put yourself
into his shoes…. What if… you started to feel dizzy occasionally, and
maybe had some unpleasant buzzing in your ear. And sometimes your ear
would feel full as though it had water in it. It was annoying and you
couldn’t get rid of it. And these feelings would come once in a while and
then disappear for a long time.
Suddenly one day, you had to grasp the
edge of your desk to steady yourself and someone had to drive you home or
to Emergency. Normal? I don’t think so. Scary? Yes, Very. Your doctor or
the hospital staff asked you questions and you really had no answers.
Eventually you would go home and life continued. But every once in a while
you still have this dizziness and pressure and your hearing comes and
goes. And this goes on for months or days…or even years. Could this be
worrisome? Could it be stressful? Could this stress lead to increasing
your blood pressure over time?
Let’s look at these Meniere's disease symptoms a little more
Vertigo. If you are suddenly faced with
mild or severe vertigo, chances are you would find it difficult to handle
your job or your responsibilities. Sometimes this spinning is so strong it
throws you to the ground! Sometimes you feel so dizzy and bump into things
that people think you are drunk or on drugs. Then you have hearing
fluctuation which means one minute you can hear well and the next you
can’t hear anything or a just a little bit. Then there is the tinnitus.
This pertains to noise of any sort: from strong sounds to buzzing. Part of
a day. Sometimes. Occasionally. Or constantly in different tones. One ear
or both ears.
Do you think this could be stressful for
you? Could it maybe raise your blood pressure? Would you like to be told
you have to live with this for the rest of your life? Would you maybe get
a bit concerned about your future? Could you ask yourself “why”? Why would
something come and go, with no apparent reason. Or could there be a
reason? And what could possibly have any connection to things you were
doing one moment or day…and not again for a while…or very frequently and
then not again for a year? Or several years? Sometimes for 15 years! Would
it be possible that something made you dizzy? And why would someone get
What part of the body gives you that
symptom? This all has to do the balance nerve. And this nerve is situated
in the inner ear and is located close to the hearing nerve, also in the
inner ear. Let’s look at hearing fluctuation. What would give you any
symptoms? Anything that irritates, disturbs, or influences that (hearing)
nerve. (That may also go for the balance nerve, but not necessarily.) Do
you think any of this might give you additional stress? Is there anything
you can do about the symptoms so you don’t get them and have to deal with
these unpleasant feelings? Do you think that any two nerves that are so
close together might also be disturbed by the same thing?
I also would
like to encourage you to search for more conditions or things that might
possibly contribute to having these symptoms of Meniere's disease. Did you know that some
dental work or sinus conditions can make you dizzy and also create a lot
of pressure? Did you realize that if your ear was already sensitive, any
vibrations such as using an electric toothbrush could set off similar
symptoms? Or artificial sweeteners? Or exposure to mold and other possible
toxins such as time-release fertilizers?
Many drugs list tinnitus or dizziness as a
side effect. And here is a huge potential “problem” creator…amalgam
fillings. They are the mercury or silver ones.
So my final question might be…then how
could a drug for high blood pressure help out these symptoms? Just
asking….could there be another way of tackling Bill’s problems? Oops!
That was another question. But my point is this. Could there be another
reason for Bill’s elevated blood pressure? Could there be another way of
looking at this problem? Things are often not what they first appear to
Just as I am finishing this article I spoke with a lady who had asked
me to check out a drug her doctor prescribed. She was suffering from
dizziness and vertigo and tinnitus. Guess what the side effects of the
drug were. Many of these chemicals don’t belong to your body “naturally”.
Could it be that your body is reacting to them? The term “side effect” is
there for a reason. To get a good sampling of information, you may want to
do your own research by checking out several sites and while you are in
each one, see who the sponsors are. Can you now see a connection with
hypertension, Meniere’s and stress?
If anyone of these conditions is a part of
your life, take control by asking questions that are not the normal,
expected ones. Ask yourself how all this ties together. Your answers will
always come as long as you persevere in your search. It is your body. No
one can ever describe how dizziness and tinnitus affect you. It is a very
personal and stressful “always on guard” lifestyle. Could it possibly
elevate your blood pressure? Probably. Are their possible solutions? Only
you will find that answer, but it won’t come about until you start your
search and then it may take time. Is it worth it? From the comments I
receive, it is the only thing to do.
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.