Medication is not the first resort.
I have several clients who came to my practice with a medicine cabinet full of prescriptions to help them be ‘healthy.’ It’s funny isn’t it; how many drugs a person must take to counteract the problems occurring within the body? The truth is that these drugs typically act as a mask. They may lessen symptoms and appease doctors, but do they actually aid in solving the root of the problems?
Let’s talk about what blood pressure is.
“When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.”
There are two readings you need to understand when having your blood pressure taken: Systolic (SBP: the higher number) and Distolic (DBP: the lower number). Your Pulse Pressure is the difference between these two numbers. While a systolic number above 140 (hypertension) places an individual at higher risk of problems, the greater the pulse pressure, the higher the risk factors become.
Hypertension exists in two stages:
Stage 1: SBP 140-159 or DBP 90-99
Stage 2: SBP > 160 or DBP > 100
Instead of reaching for the medication, let’s look at the main underlying causes to hypertension:
- Physical Inactivity
- Sleep Apnea
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Primary Aldosteronism
- Thyroid Issues
There are many other reasons an individual may be experiencing hypertension, but altering the current lifestyle should help immensely.
More than 15% of deaths today are linked to high blood pressure. Remember that hypertension triggers strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. According to the American Heart Association 28% of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.
Even if you are not actively hypertensive, it may be time to evaluate your lifestyle to see how you can prevent it from occurring in the future.
Things to consider when trying to lower your blood pressure:
NIH recommends the DASH diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. Personally, I tend to recommend skipping anything labeled ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ and stick with real food, as opposed to altered, processed foods that contain food substitutes.
Foods to avoid: alcohol, processed foods, sugar, trans-fats, caffeine, excess sodium.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. Exercise can (also) help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program.”
SUPPLEMENTS (Always talk to your doctor about adding supplements into your routine)
The following are all linked to lowering blood pressure:
- Fish Oil
- Coenzyme Q10
- Cat’s Claw
- French Lavender
- Celery Seed
- Deep Breathing
- Quit Smoking
- Lessen Chronic Stress
- Get More Sleep
Several studies lead to the same conclusion: Chiropractic care, in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can aid in lowering blood pressure. More research needs preformed, but from personal experience, I believe that these three categories (along with adding homeopathics, acupuncture, and supplements) will keep the medications far from your body.