high blood pressure - facts and fictionHigh blood pressure (hypertension) is widespread, affecting approximately 25% of the population. If the condition remains untreated, it can lead to more serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

However, there are many myths about high blood pressure in the popular press. So in the following paragraphs we’ll separate fiction from fact to provide you with a more accurate understanding of this common health problem.

Fiction: The lower your blood pressure, the better.

Fact: Low blood pressure can also lead to health problems. It can cause dizziness or fainting, increasing your risk of falls, and (if it is severe), can even lead to shock and death.

Fiction: Young people do not need to have their blood pressure checked.

Fact: While young people are at lower risk, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advises that everyone have their blood pressure checked from the age of 18.

Fiction: High blood pressure always has symptoms.

Fact: This is not necessarily the case. While some experience sweating, nervousness and sleep disturbances, approximately one in three adult Americans with high blood pressure have it and are not aware of it. This is the reason hypertension is sometimes called “the silent killer”.

Fiction: Blood pressure is only high because you are at the doctor’s office.

Fact: Many people get nervous while at the doctor’s office, which can raise blood pressure levels. However, repeated high readings should be an indication that it is not a situational condition. Home blood pressure monitors are now easily obtainable. So take your measurements at home a few times and then share the results with your doctor.

Fiction: If you have high cholesterol, you must have high blood pressure.

Fact: Although the risk factors for both are often the same (poor diet, lack of exercise, etc.), having one does not necessarily mean you have the other. You should have both your blood pressure and cholesterol checked periodically to ensure that you do not have either.

Fiction: Women do not need to worry about getting high blood pressure.

Fact: Although middle-aged men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women, the numbers begin to even out after a woman reaches menopause. In fact, African-American women over age 65 have the highest rate of high blood pressure. Other women at higher risk are those with a history of the disease in their family, those who are on birth control pills, those who are pregnant, and those who are overweight.

Fiction: Over-the-counter medications are always safe for those with high blood pressure.

Fact: Decongestants can both interfere with blood pressure medications and raise blood pressure. If you are looking for cold and flu remedies, ensure that they do not contain decongestants.

Fiction: Insulin injections cause high blood pressure.

Fact: It was once believed that people taking insulin were at greater risk of hardened arteries and high blood pressure, but this idea has since been disproved.

Fiction: As your blood pressure improves, it’s all right to stop taking your blood pressure medication.

Fact: It is never a good idea to stop taking your blood pressure medication until you have consulted with your doctor. Suddenly stopping your medication can cause your blood pressure to spike suddenly, stressing the heart, causing an irregular heartbeat and increasing your risk of a heart attack. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness and insomnia. If you decide to discontinue taking your medication, do so slowly, and always under a doctor’s supervision.

Among veterans, musculoskeletal pain is one of the most common complaints, particularly low back pain (LBP). The number of veterans reporting to the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) with low back pain rose an average of 4.8 percent per year between 2000 and 2007, exceeding the rise in rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. A survey of 15,000 veterans from the Persian Gulf War found that 45 percent reported experiencing back pain. Chiropractic services have been added to the care options for veterans, and most chiropractors providing services to veterans within the VHA reported that LBP was the primary complaint.

chiropractic for veterans with back painA study to determine the effectiveness of chiropractic care in treating veterans with LBP was performed on 171 patients who met the inclusion criteria. The average veteran was male, obese and suffering from chronic LBP (for over 6 months, on average). Most participants also presented with other physical and psychological issues. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common in the veteran population and has been shown to contribute to chronic pain.

Veterans in the study received treatment from a chiropractor in the western New York area after being referred by their primary care physician. The number of treatments given to each case during the course of the study ranged from 2 to 26, with 8.7 being the mean number of treatments per person. Treatments were performed twice a week on average, and the patient was assessed after every four treatments.
Walnut Creek chiropractors used a range of treatment modalities on the subjects, including standard adjustments, spinal mobilization and flexion distraction. Patients were also instructed on how to perform therapeutic exercises and do stretches that were tailored to their specific condition.

Pain severity was measured by the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), which is a verbal rating by the patient on the severity of pain using a scale ranging from 0 to 10 at the time treatment is undertaken. The Back Bournemouth Questionnaire (BBQ) is a biopsychosocial measurement of low back pain symptoms consisting of 7 questions that measure pain, disability, and the affective and cognitive-behavioral aspects of musculoskeletal problems. Scores on the BBQ range from 0 to 70, with higher numbers indicating a higher severity of symptoms.

After only two chiropractic treatments, 60 percent of veterans showed a significant improvement of 37.4 points on the NRS and 34.6 points on the BBQ measurements. The researchers concluded that, “Despite high levels of service-connected disability and comorbidity, veterans’ chiropractic clinical outcomes in terms of mean percentage improvement from baseline to discharge for both NRS and BBQ were statistically significant and clinically meaningful. This study adds to the understanding of chiropractic clinical outcomes for veterans with LBP and contributes to a foundation for further research.”

Have High Blood Pressure? Walnut Creek Chiropractor Says To Check Your Mercury Levels

“Mercury toxicity should be evaluated in any patient with hypertension, coronary heart disease, cerebral vascular disease, cerebrovascular accident, or other vascular disease.” This was the conclusion of an August 2011 study that appeared in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

For those of you lucky enough to not know the term, hypertension is the medical name for high-blood pressure. About one out of every three adults in the United States has high blood pressure (National Center for Health Statistics, 2008) so the odds are that at least one of your parents or grandparents is affected. Or, perhaps it you that has high blood pressure? Either way, this is a study you’ll want to know about since it clearly connects how mercury toxicity (which can be tested for and reduced) can manifest itself as hypertension and other vascular diseases.

 

Most research studies you hear about on the evening news or popular science programs are full of data and statistics. These types of studies are typically trying to correlate two facts – such as people with higher mercury exposure have greater incidence of heart disease – and may go future to try to establish causation. However, statistical methods don’t ever really settle the causation question. For that we need biochemistry.

Biochemistry is all about understanding the different pathways that nutrients (and toxins) travel in our bodies. This particular study looked at the many internal processes that mercury interferes with in order to establish a biochemical basis for the resulting symptoms – hypertension and coronary heart disease. Here’s what they found.

Mercury:
1. Inactivates many reactions that depend on sulfer-containing enzymes
2. Inactivates many sulfer-containing antioxidants
3. Substitutes itself for zinc, copper and other trace minerals in certain reactions

As a result:
1. Mitochondria – the energy powerhouses of the cell – malfunction
2. The body’s oxidative defenses are diminished increasing oxidative stress and inflammation

Which manifests in the body as:
1. Hypertension (high blood pressure)
2. Coronary heart disease
3. Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
4. Cardiac arrhythmias
5. Atherosclerosis
6. Renal dysfunction, and
7. Proteinuria

Even if you didn’t follow any of the preceding couple paragraphs, you can appreciate the need to ‘connect-the-dots’ between cellular-level processes and downstream diseases. This study connected the dots between high levels of mercury and the many downstream disease states listed. A brilliant piece of work!

So, what should you do if you have hypertension or other types of coronary heart disease? The study authors and Walnut Creek chiropractors advise testing for acute or chronic mercury toxicity. Modern mercury toxicity tests are done using urine, blood, hair and toenail samples so they are minimally invasive and results come back fairly quickly.

———————————-
Bibliography

Houston, M. (2011, August). Role of mercury toxicity in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 13(8), 621-7.
National Center for Health Statistics. (2008). Retrieved August 12, 2011, from Centers for Disease Control.

Enhanced by Zemanta