High Blood Pressure and YouSeptember 3, 2015
Ok, let’s talk about blood pressure. One of three adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Because it is often symptom free, up to one third of those afflicted are unaware of it. This is why high blood pressure is referred to as the “silent killer”. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, and a myriad of other risks. Couple high blood pressure with smoking, drinking, and a sedentary life style, and your risk factor goes off the charts. The list goes on and on, as does the list of the more than one hundred prescription meds to combat the menace. But drug therapy comes at a price, both monetarily and physically, when one considers the influence, commonly termed as “side effects”, on other systems of the body. Examples of such “influences” of high blood pressure drugs on the body are quite pronounced. For instance, side effects of Beta Blockers include: insomnia, depression, fatigue, impotence; Ace Inhibitors: kidney damage, loss of taste, cough, rash; Angiotensin II Inhibitors: dizziness; Calcium Blockers: palpitations, constipation, headache; Alpha Blockers: increased heart rate, dizziness; Central Agonists: weakness, fatigue, dry mouth, fever, anemia;Peripheral Adrenergic Inhibitors: diarrhea, heart burn, nightmares; Blood Vessel Dilators: swelling around eyes, heart palpitations, body aches and pains.
But there is great news.
In March of 2006 a placebo-controlled study was conducted by George Bakris M.D., the Director of the University of Chicago’s Hypertension Center. During an eight week course, twenty five patients with early stage high blood pressure underwent specific chiropractic adjustments- some to the area of study (the first vertebra in the neck) and some to other areas of the spine (sham adjustments). During the study, patients did not take blood pressure medication. “When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn’t believe it. It was too good to be true,” Bakris says. “The statistician said, ‘I don’t even believe it’. But we checked everything, and there it was.” Bakris’ team reported in the Journal of Human Hypertension that compared to the sham –treated patients, those who received the actual treatment to the upper cervical vertebra, or atlas, in their neck saw an average 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (top number in the blood pressure reading) and an average of 8 mm Hg greater drop in the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in the blood pressure reading). Bakris told Daniel J. Noon of WebMD, “This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination and it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems.”
So what does that mean to you? It means that there is an excellent chance that an upper cervical chiropractic adjustment can be an important factor in lowering your blood pressure without the side effects or cost of your prescriptions. This is excellent news for seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes and often sacrifice to cover their medication expenses. Factor in the acceptance of Medicare coverage for chiropractic, the possibilities of living without the prescription costs of blood pressure medication, or putting up with the unwanted, often dangerous side effects of these drugs, and you have a winning, healthy alternative to the medical monster. If you have any questions contact a chiropractor for a consultation.
Doctor VanNess is a Chiropractor at Van Ness Chiropractic in Barrington.