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Try Not to Stress Over Lowered Threshold for High Blood Pressure

New guidelines that lower the classification of what is considered high blood pressure/hypertension will add another 30 million Americans to this unhealthful "club" of which no one wants to be a member. For decades, one's blood pressure was considered high with a top (systolic) reading of 140 and a bottom (diastolic) reading of 90. These new standards drop the reading to 130 over 80.

Blood Pressure and On-the-Job Injuries

Examining Risk Factors

There are a variety of risk factors, some work-related and some not, associated with hypertension.  Common work-related causes can include orthopedic injuries that lead to weight gain and prolonged use of certain medications.

Job stress can also be a factor.  According to the Mayo Clinic, short-term, stress-related spikes in one's blood pressure can, when added up over time, put one at risk of developing hypertension. Some of the many causes of work-related stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity and conflicts with fellow workers or employers

Hormones that are produced when a person experiences stress at work may damage arteries, leading to hypertension and heart disease.

Managing Stress Is Key

Stress can also lead to adopting unhealthy habits such as overeating, not exercising, and misusing drugs or alcohol, any of which can put one's cardiovascular health at risk.

Often times, stress is just "part of the job." When this is the case, it is wise to call upon stress-reducing techniques to manage your symptoms, such as meditation, deep breathing, or regular exercise.

Work May Be a Cause

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 60 percent of people in the United States consider their job a major source of stress. But, don't confuse job stress with challenge. The latter stimulates workers to learn new skills; it is a crucial part of work productivity. And although some stress is okay, when it becomes overwhelming or sets in rapidly, one's mental and physical health can be impacted negatively.

There's no evidence that stress alone causes long-term high blood pressure, but how one reacts to stress should be examined. Dealing with stress in unhealthy ways can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. The following behaviors have been linked to higher blood pressure:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating unhealthy foods

In addition, heart disease may be linked to anxiety, depression and isolation from friends and family.

Industrial Causes Must Be Examined

Exposure to work stress resulting in hypertension is an industrial injury in California's Workers' Compensation system, but it can take an experienced attorney to gather the evidence to confirm industrial causation and disability. Seventy-five percent of Americans say that their job is a significant source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association.  Stress can be caused by strict deadlines, lack of autonomy, long hours, a heavy workload and a hostile work environment, among others. Effects can be life-threatening, as hypertension puts people at a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney disease.   When it comes to hypertension and heart disease, causation of injury and permanent disability requires a detailed analysis of the many factors that can contribute to the development of high blood pressure.

We at Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP have decades of experience proving industrial  injury claims, such as those involving high blood pressure. If you would like to speak with an attorney about your legal options, please call 213-739-7000 or click here.

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