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When Job Ups Blood Pressure, Spouse Can Help
SATURDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A supportive spouse can help soothe the negative effects of job stress on blood pressure , new research shows.

The year-long study of 216 men and women found that a combination of job stress and lack of spousal support was associated with an increase of 2.8 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure.

However, study volunteers who experienced job stress but had a supportive spouse showed a decrease in their hypertension of 2.5 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure.

Spousal support means talking things over on a daily basis, and it's a key component of what the researchers called "marital cohesion," researcher Dr. Sheldon Tobe, assistant professor of medicine, University of Toronto, said in a prepared statement. "Did partners talk about their daily activities? Did one partner pay attention and sympathize when the significant other had a stressful day? Did the partners spend time together?"

Tobe said that people with high job stress and/or low marital cohesion should see their family doctor for a blood pressure check. He also advised people to get their blood pressure checked if they're in a formerly harmonious relationship that's deteriorated.

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What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbersthe systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats). The measurement is written one above or before the other, with the systolic number on top and the diastolic number on the bottom. For example, a blood pressure measurement of 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) is expressed verbally as "120 over 80."

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mmHg systolic and less than 80 mmHg diastolic.

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