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High Blood Pressure Dulls Emotions

Elevated levels smooth out highs and lows, study says

MONDAY, Sept. 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Higher blood pressure may dull a person's emotional response, smoothing out emotional highs and lows, says a study in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Clemson University researchers checked the blood pressure of 65 volunteers and then showed them a series of photographs meant to elicit either a positive or negative emotional response. The volunteers rated their reactions to the photographs on scales of "happy to unhappy" and "calm to excited."

The study authors suggest that increases in blood pressure may help people cope with intense psychological stimulation by limiting their emotional reactions.

"If those with higher resting blood pressure perceive their environment as less threatening, they may stay in stressful situations for longer. Likewise, they may seek out greater levels of excitement," study author Cynthia Purdy said in a prepared statement.

Previous research found that higher blood pressure reduces sensitivity to pain.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has information about how your emotions affect your health.

SOURCE: Health Behavior News Service, news release, Aug. 30, 2004
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