It is important for the nurse to realize that the optimal point of intervention to promote health is during the stage when the in-dividual’s own compensatory processes are still functioning. Early identification of both physiologic and psychological stressors re-mains a major role of the nurse, and information on the interre-lationships between physical and emotional health can be found in research journals. The nurse should be able to relate the pre-senting signs and symptoms of distress to the physiology they rep-resent and identify the individual’s position on the continuum of function, from health and compensation to pathophysiology and disease. For example, if an anxious middle-aged woman pre-sented for a checkup and was found to be overweight, with a blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg, the nurse would counsel her with respect to diet, stress management, and activity. The nurse would also encourage weight loss and discuss the woman’s in-take of salt (which affects fluid balance) and caffeine (which pro-vides a stimulant effect). The patient and the nurse would identify both individual and environmental stressors and discuss strategies to decrease the lifestyle stress, with the ultimate goal being to create a healthy lifestyle and prevent hypertension and its sequelae.
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