Did you know that one in every three adults have high blood pressure and only half of them have their pressure under control? When uncontrolled, high blood pressure can quietly damage the heart, kidneys, blood vessels and more. Nearly 14 million Americans are unaware they have high blood pressure. Know the facts so you are not one of them. -All American Healthcare Hammond
Why Blood Pressure Matters
At its core, blood pressure is the force of blood pressing against the walls of the arteries. When your blood pressure is high, your heart’s workload increases and can cause minor to serious damage to the arteries.There are no true symptoms to indicate that you have high blood pressure; however, if this goes undetected and uncontrolled it can lead to a multitude of health consequences including stroke, memory loss, and heart disease.
More than 360,000 American deaths in 2013 included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That is almost 1,000 deaths each day. -CDC
Your risk for high blood pressure often comes with age, but there are more contributing factors, such as heredity, gender, weight, ethnicity and lifestyle choices that could increase your risk. For example, more men than women are affected under the age 45; however, more women than men are effected over the age 65. Your weight and lifestyle choices can also effect your risk of high blood pressure, but if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, simply changing your weight and lifestyle are not enough to control the problem. Keep an eye on your blood pressure measurements to make sure you are not at risk.
How to Measure Blood Pressure
The easiest way to keep up with your blood pressure is to test it yourself using a self-measured blood pressure monitor. Effective monitoring and management of your blood pressure can reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failures.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first number is your systolic blood pressure. This is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure. This measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.
Normal blood pressure should fall below 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, or 120/80.
You may be surprised to know that nearly one in three Americans have prehypertension or, higher than normal blood pressure. If your measures fall anywhere between 120 and 139 for systolic pressure or 80 to 89 diastolic pressure, you may have prehypertension and are at risk of high blood pressure.
If your measures fall around 140/90 or above, you have high blood pressure. Even if you do no feel any additional symptoms you are at high risk of hypertension. If your blood pressure continues to increase, take action immediately.
Chiropractic and High Blood Pressure
One basic principle of chiropractic is to help the body help itself. The body naturally looks to balance itself for optimal internal communication and function. Often, this can be impaired by pain, inflammation or even high blood pressure. Chiropractic care can help restructure certain areas of the pain to return proper function throughout the body.
The University of Chicago Medical Center conducted an eight week study on the effects of chiropractic adjustments on blood pressure. The study used fifty patients with early-stage high blood pressure to determine if an adjustment could significantly lower their blood pressure measurements. Twenty-five patients received special chiropractic adjustments while the other half received fake adjustments.
The results showed that patients who received the adjustments saw their blood pressure drop an average of seventeen points, a similar result to taking two blood pressure medications. Their explanation? The study focused on the C-1 vertebra located at the top of the spine. When this vertebra is twisted or misaligned it can pinch surrounding nerves and arteries, in turn effecting blood flow. The adjustments put the vertebra in its proper place, lowering pain and blood pressure simultaneously.
The chiropractic adjustments focused on the integrity of the spine and the surrounding areas. By putting the spine in its proper structure, the adjustment opened up room for natural communication within the body and relieved pain that was once blocking communication. The C-1 vertebra is located at the top of the spine where your neck meets your head. This is also where our brainstem begins. By aligning the vertebra with the spine you are able to relieve pressure on the brainstem as well, opening a path for clear internal communication.