In this health video you will learn how loneliness can cause high blood pressure.
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Raena Morgan: Hi, I'm Raena Morgan with iHealthTube. I'm visiting with Robert Kowalski, the author of The Blood Pressure Cure. You write in here that loneliness will cause your blood pressure to rise. Could you address that? Robert Kowalski: There's no question about this one and it's amazing. We have 300 million people living in the United States. 300 million and yet people are lonely. Raena Morgan: That's so sad. Robert Kowalski: It absolutely is. And it absolutely contributes to hypertension and, at the very least, increases in blood pressure which we've now found even mild increases in blood pressure will increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. So taking care of as many things within your lifestyle as you possibly can, will all contribute to greater heart health. Now, let's address that issue of loneliness. All of us, at some point in time, experience this. Even if you're happily married, at the time that you're alone in the house, when your spouse is off on a trip, or working, or whatever the case might be, and you have this feeling of really desperate loneliness that reading a book is not satisfying, watching television just makes you more upset, blood pressure is rising. The trick is really, "help yourself by helping others". One of the best things you can do is volunteer work. Get involved with other people. I had the opportunity and the privilege of interviewing Betty Ford. Raena Morgan: Oh, you did. Robert Kowalski: The President, former President's wife. Now, she's well-known for her Betty Ford Clinic, of course and extremely well-known for the work she did because of the alcoholism problems and the drug problems that she was personally experiencing. The drug problems were prescription drugs that she got addicted to over a period of time. Not many people know that she had by-pass surgery and nearly died of heart disease. That's what actually almost killed her not the breast cancer. When you look at her life, she had a lot going on. Raena Morgan: A lot of crosses to bear. Robert Kowalski: Exactly that. But, if you talk to that lady, as I had the privilege of doing extremely upbeat. And I asked her about that and she said, "Bob, the best thing about my life is the knowledge of helping others." And she said, "Even though I started the clinic" which was just yards from where we were doing the interview in Southern California "I'm involved with it. I go in and talk to the staff. I talk to the patients. I'm involved. And I volunteer my services as often as I possibly can in a number of activities." Now think about what you can -- you may not have the capability of starting a foundation or something like that, or starting a clinic for this or that indication; however, we can all do something. Even at the lowest sort of level of volunteering at a local school to read to children. Just this morning, the First Lady, Laura Bush, was talking about reading in school. A lot of people are getting more and more involved with this on a volunteer basis. You can go in a day a week, a couple days a week, whatever you have available. And you got these little kids who are instantly appreciative. It makes -- it gives you this sense of well-being, a sense of value of yourself to know that you are helping others and you watch the smiles on their faces as you are reading and doing some inflexions as you are reading "as the little ducky walks across the street", whatever it happens to be and you feel better yourself. The more you give, the more you get. Get involved with others, talk to people; call a friend, talk to them. Raena Morgan: All right, so that's the way to combat loneliness and keep that blood pressure down. Robert Kowalski: The worst thing you can do is give into it, just stay in the house, pull up the covers and find no reason to get out of bed. Raena Morgan: All right, well, thank you very much, Bob.