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Is Your Relationship Unhealthy? Your Blood Pressure Could Reveal the Answer.

New research suggests that both stress levels and relationship quality has a direct effect on the cardiovascular system. It’s no surprise that strained relationships cause higher blood pressure, but did you know: if one partner is experiencing stress, it can also impact the other partner’s blood pressure.

Is your relationship toxic to your health and wellbeing? A toxic relationship can take a toll on your health over time, impacting how your genes are expressed and predisposing you to develop different conditions ranging from depression to heart palpitations and high blood pressure. If you have been struggling with whether it’s time to break ties with your boyfriend or girlfriend, taking a look at your blood pressure might provide some insight.

A 2015 study conducted by Oxford University measured how an individual’s chronic stress and relationship quality influenced the blood pressure of his or her partner. For both males and females, a negative relationship had a direct link to higher blood pressure readings. Gender differences appeared, however, when looking at how chronic stress of one spouse affected their partner. Husbands were more sensitive to their partner’s stress levels and had higher blood pressure readings when their partner had chronic stress levels. Interestingly, the same did not hold true for wives, whose blood pressure was less impacted by their partner’s chronic stress. So, what underlies this discrepancy? Researchers speculate that husbands may rely more strongly on their partners for support (which might not be provided if their partner is under chronic stress).

So, is your relationship unhealthy? While your blood pressure and cardiovascular health can provide some insight, it is important to recognize the root of what’s causing your strained relationship. If it is something external to the relationship itself, finding ways to relax and reduce work-related and other stressors might do wonders for your relationship – and your blood pressure readings. Laughter not only can improve your relationship – but scientists have discovered new ways laughter impacts your health.

Want more expert-backed advice on how to manage your stress levels and how to improve your wellbeing? For more health insight, Health Gauge uses important health metrics—including blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate, and activity levels — to give advice specifically tailored to you and your goals for stress reduction and overall health.

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