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Hypertension Literature Review

The relationship of stress to hypertension has a significant history.  As early as the 1930s an investigation into the effect of stress on physiological changes has been considered (Cannon, 1935).  Cannon’s work with the blood hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, suggested that stress that exceeded a critical threshold could stain a body beyond its adaptive limits.  In addition it has been found that during long-term stimulation induced by stress, epinephrine and cortisone are both overproduced resulting in hypertension (Frankenhaeuser, Lundberg, Von Wright, Von Wright and Sedvall, 1986).  Since relevant data shows a direct correlation between stress and hypertension, researchers began to consider stress management as non-drug treatment for hypertension.

Hypertension Literature Review

A precursory overview of salient literature concerning the use of stress management as a means to control hypertension shows a wide variation in the use of the technique.  In spite of the fact that there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that stress management can prevent hypertension, there is considerable evidence that it can reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients (Spence, Barnett and Peter, 1999).  Research has shown that single-component stress management techniques, such as meditation and relaxation techniques, are efficient in some patients.  Marble (1996) reports that elderly African American patients utilizing transcendental mediation observed significant reduction in blood pressure.  The average adjusted decrease in systolic pressure for men and women performing transcendental mediation were 12.7mmHg and 10.4mmHg respectively.

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