Moving house is quite stressful and you’d think that kind of stress could raise our blood pressure.
But a new study from Northwestern University shows that sometimes moving from one neighborhood to another can be very good for your blood pressure.
Previous studies had already revealed that African Americans in the USA are more likely to suffer high blood pressure than their white counterparts.
We also know that people in highly racially segregated neighborhoods tend to have higher blood pressure than those in mixed neighborhoods.
But what the researchers of this study wanted to learn was if moving from a highly segregated neighborhood to a less segregated one could actually improve your blood pressure.
They analyzed data from 2,280 black participants originally collected by the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, which followed its participants for 25 years.
Some moved neighborhoods, others didn’t.
Moving from a highly segregated to a low segregated neighborhood reduced systolic blood pressure by up to 2.26 points, while the move from a high to a moderately segregated neighborhood decreased it by up to 2.08 points.
When they moved back to highly or moderately segregated areas, their blood pressure increased again.
So why did this happen? One word: Stress!
Segregated neighborhoods tend to be poorer, more violence prone, subject to harsher policing, devoid of health clubs, parks, and health resources and, because of relatively poor quality schooling, their residents have poorer economic and social opportunities for advancement.
An increase in stress hormone is the #1 cause of high blood pressure. The trigger can be physical, emotional, sensual, or mental stress. But whatever you name it, it spikes stress hormone production, which raises blood pressure.
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