In today’s podcast, we are going to talk about high blood pressure, what happens, how many people it affects, and what we may be able to do to help it. Today is all about high blood pressure and I’m going to admit to you….in researching for this week’s podcast, even I learned new things about high blood pressure and I’m betting you will too. If you love what you hear, be sure to check out www.chiropracticforward.com. As this podcast builds, so will the website as we add more content, educational products, and a little further down the road, webinars, seminars, and speaking dates as they get added.
Welcome to the podcast today, Dr. Jeff Williams here with Creek Stone here in Amarillo, TX and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast where we talk about issues related to health, chiropractic, evidence, and research and how those things all fit into a comprehensive approach for treating different conditions. Thank you for taking time out of your day to give us a listen. I know your time is valuable and I will always try hard to fill our time with valuable content.
You have fallen head first into episode #7 this week and I want to welcome you. We are going to have more fun that headbutting an i-beam..which I actually did on accident one time when I was a kid. I was running away from someone while playing tag and was looking over my shoulder wrhen smack…now I have a scare on the side of my noggin 35-40 years later. This is how I am certain we will have more fun with this episode.
Speaking of fun, with this being a brand new podcast, I can’t tell you how much fun it is to check the stats of the show and see people tuning in and finding value in our ideas and in information we have to share with you.
I think it is responsible to start off with a disclaimer: I am not a cardiologist. I am a research-minded, evidence-based Doctor of Chiropractic that has seen a jillion people with high blood pressure throughout a 20-year career. The ideas and discussion to follow will be based on information derived from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from the American Heart Institute, and from information shared through Dr. Stephen Sinatra of New York, who is a cardiologist and founder of the New England Heart Center. Ultimately, your blood pressure and heart health is something your primary practitioner and/or cardiologist should be monitoring consistently. Our intent here is not to “treat” anyone through the internet but to simply raise awareness and encourage you to pay attention and take steps to protect yourself if needed. Do not simply depend on information from the internet or Dr. Google as I call it. If you are suffering from high blood pressure (or think you might be) make an appointment with your primary today.
Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s get going with an easy definition of high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high.
I want to tell you all why, at times, I should have high blood pressure. It’s because I have a teenager. Yes, I have a 15 year old high school kid and he’s why. Lol. Not really, as far as teenagers go, he could be soooo much worse. Other than his need to be right conflicting with my need to be right, he’s a sweetheart.
Other reasons may be a busted pipe in the pool house when we had a major freeze. I know I know…first world problems… I happen to be the owner of a european great dane…..enough said. That girl can tear some stuff up when she gets bored.
I also have a huge Leonberger dog. Look it up. They’re beautiful but the hair…I’m telling you, it’s a job to stay clean. I could make cushions out of the amount of hair that dog generates.
The animals at my house at this point would include two dogs, a cat (not my choice), two guineas, and two turtles..and that doesn’t even include my 10 year old daughter and my teenage son… I probably have some mice too if I’m guessing right.
Not to mention I’m an actively practicing chiropractor running a busy practice and all of the stressors that come with it. Own your own business they said, be your own boss they said….you’ll be able to do whatever you want. Heck, I don’t have time to think twice and I certainly don’t have a lot of time to sit around and generate content. I’m busy humpin it and making a living. I’m not out on the lecture circuit just yet and having dinner and a drink in the hotel bar. Lol. I’m at work all day every day. I have stress people!! That’s all I’m saying.
But seriously, I have actually been very fortunate and have not had to battle with high blood pressure yet. Thank the good Lord. I am just lucky I think.
From personal experience in treating patients, I have seen new patients having blood pressure counts of 200 over 110 before and they had NO IDEA their blood pressure was high. What does a chiropractor do in that instance? You may get different ideas from different chiropractors but I can tell you what THIS chiropractor does in those cases. I send them either directly to their primary practitioner or the urgent care, whichever they prefer. I won’t touch them as far as chiropractic treatment until the blood pressure is under control.
There is research we will discuss in a minute showing chiropractic is effective in controlling high blood pressure but I will not be the one trying to get it down when it is at that level. I’ll be the one trying to help once it’s normalized. That is simply my opinion and the way I choose to go about things in my practice. As I said, other chiropractors likely have other opinions and protocols.
Next, let’s discuss some high blood pressure facts from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention that you may not already know about concerning WHO is commonly affected:
- Did you know that about 75 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure? That’s about a third of the population. Another way of saying that is that 1 in every 3 people have high blood pressure.
- Unfortunately, only about half of the people with high blood pressure have the condition under control.
- About 11 million adults in America have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.
- High blood pressure costs America around $46 Billion every year when you account for the cost of health care services, medications, and days out of work.
- High blood pressure affects women about as much as it affects men overall but under the age of 45, more men are affected. Over the age of 65, more women have the condition.
- When we look at race, more black people have high blood pressure than do whites and Hispanics, and of the black people having it, more women are affected than men.
- Women having high blood pressure that then become pregnant are more likely to have complications.
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure during the midlife phase (45-65) seems to be linked to higher risks of dementia later in life.
Here are some of those random facts that you may be able to use in a game of Trivial Pursuit somewhere down the line:
- Did you know that too little salt can contribute to high blood pressure? We commonly associate an excess of salt with high blood pressure but too little is an issue as well. According to Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a cardiologist from New York, it seems a good mix is keeping more than 1.8 grams of salt a day in your body while keeping sodium below 2.8 mg/day while keeping a close eye on hidden salts that can be found in canned soups, pickles, salted nuts, etc.
- Potassium plays a part in healthy blood pressure so it’s likely a good idea to foods like eggplant, squash, bananas, coconut water, and baked potatoes.
- It’s a good idea to have the blood pressure taken in both arms since the numbers are often different from one arm to the other.
- Cardio is great but weight training can RAISE blood pressure. If you like to lift weights but suffer from high blood pressure, it would probably be a great idea to lift much lighter with higher reps in an attempt to bring down those numbers.
Now let’s talk about some of the causes of high blood pressure in patients:
- Emotional stress
- Being overweight
- Environmental toxins
- Lack of exercise
- Too much salt as well as too little salt
- More than one or two drinks of alcohol per day.
What risks do you run when leaving your high blood pressure untreated or uncontrolled? As unpleasant as it may be to discuss, it can be as serious as you may have imagined. Here are the potential outcomes of untreated high blood pressure:
- The CDC states that over 360,000 U.S. citizens died of high blood pressure in 2013 which totals about 1,000 deaths every single day.
- High blood pressure increases your risk of having a heart attack, of having a stroke, of having long-lasting heart failure, and of having kidney disease.
Here’s brand new and very interesting research paper I wanted to take the time to discuss. It’s by AP Wong and is titled “Review: Beyond conventional therapies: Complementary and alternative medicine in the management of hypertension: An evidence-based review(1).”
Why They Did It
The authors state that high blood pressure is responsible for about 12.8% of all deaths globally. Considering that staggering fact, the World Health Organization has targeted a 25% reduction in high blood pressure by the year 2025 and has encouraged more evidence and research into non-conventional methods of controlling high blood pressure.
How They Did It
- The authors of the paper had two main objectives
1. Describe the therapeutic modalities commonly used in treating high blood pressure.
2. Review the current level of evidence that has been attained for each.
- The researchers used a search from 2005-2013 of the databses MEDLINE, The Cochrane Library, PUBMED, and EMBASE.
- 23 papers were found and accepted.
- Modalities identified in the 23 papers were fish oil, qigong, yoga, coenzyme Q10, melatonin, meditation, vitamin D, vitamin C, monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary amino-acids, chiropractic, osteopathy, folate, inorganic nitrate, beetroot juice, beetroot bread, magnesium, and L-arginine.
What They Found
The following therapies had weak to no evidence for effectiveness in treating high blood pressure:
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D
- Monounsaturated fatty acid
- Dietary amino-acids
The following therapies showed significant reduction in blood pressure:
- Vitamin C
- Inorganic nitrate
- Beetroot juice
Coenzyme Q10 has differing results. Some studies showed it had weak to no effectiveness while other studies showed it to have significant effect on the reduction of high blood pressure.
Wrap It Up
In a quote from the authors conclusion, they said, “Results from this review suggest that certain non-conventional therapies may be effective in treating hypertension and improving cardiac function and therefore considered as part of an evidence-based approach.”
With all of the information combined from the articles used as source material, including the research paper, the Alternative means of treating high blood pressure may include:
- CHIROPRACTIC – we will talk more about this in just a moment
- Coenzyme Q10 – More discussion on Coenzyme Q10 later.
- RestricT carbohydrates
- Use olive oil – consider adopting the use of the Mediterranean Pan-Asian diet which is a non-inflammatory diet.
- Cutting sugar out of your diet is crucial for those suffering from high blood pressure.
- Less alcohol is best but a glass of wine a day has shown benefits.
- No processed juices from the grocery store. They’re packed full of useless and damaging sugars.
- Exercise protocols
- Lose weight – only a five pound reduction can make a difference
- Stop smoking!
- Vitamin C
- Inorganic nitrate
- Beetroot juice
Besides this study, there are several other suggesting Chiropractic plays an important role in reducing or controlling blood pressure.
In one from 1988 by Yates, et. al. called “Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial,” they showed how anxiety and blood pressure were significantly reduced following chiropractic treatment(2).
In another very interesting study through the University of Chicago Medicine from March 14, 2007, and led by George Bakris, MD (director of the hypertension center at the University of Chicago Medical Center, researchers did the following:
- They took 50 Chicago-area citizens having high blood pressure.
- All had misaligned C1 vertebrae measured on x-ray
- They were randomly divided into a treatment group consisting of a chiropractic adjustment and a sham group where no treatment was actually performed.
- The participants were assessed at the beginning of treatment, after the chiropractic adjustment, and at the end of eight weeks.
What They Found
The authors stated that the improvement in blood pressure for both systolic and diastolic were similar to that seen when giving patients two different blood pressure medications at the same time. Not only that, but the reduction in the blood pressure continued in the eighth week!
When Chiropractic is at its best, you cannot beat the risk vs reward ratio. Plain and simple. Spinal pain is a mechanical pain and responds better to mechanical treatment rather than chemical treatment such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatories.
Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY!
Research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic. Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health!
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(1) Wong AP, et al. “Review: Beyond conventional therapies: Complementary and alternative medicine in the management of hypertension: An evidence-based review.” Pak J Pharm Sci. 2018 Jan;31(1):237-244.
(2) Yates RG, et. al. “Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial.” J Manip Physical Ther. 1988 Dec;11(6):484-8.
(3) Bakris, G. Journal of Human Hypertension, advance online publication, March 2, 2007. Grassi, G. Journal of Human Hypertension, advance online publication, January 25, 2007.George Bakris, MD, director, hypertension center, University of Chicago. Marshall Dickholtz Sr., DC, Chiropractic Health Center, Chicago.
Other Source Material: