Overview of High Blood Pressure
One in four American adults suffers from high blood pressure and nearly one third don’t even know they have it. High blood pressure is a leading contributor to Heart Disease which will unfortunately cause the death of 50% of Americans. The medical approach calls for drug therapy including Diuretics, Beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and Vasodilators or Calcium-channel blockers. Although these drugs may lower blood pressure for a short period of time, they do not address the true cause of the problem, and the drugs’ toxic effects and side-effects may be more damaging than the high blood pressure itself.
Common Causes and Treatments of High Blood Pressure
When arteries in the body become constricted, due to the hyperactivity of their smooth muscle, or due to inflammation or the build up of plaque, there is less of a channel through which blood can travel en route to the systems of the body which needs the vital nutrients and oxygen it gets via the vascular system. Naturally, when these channels are reduced in size, but the body’s organs continue to require nutrients and oxygen, the body raises its blood pressure, in order to maintain adequate levels of blood flow to the systems of the body that would otherwise become starved. The body’s blood pressure is foremost controlled in the brainstem at the medulla oblongata. This area of the brainstem, in coordination with other smooth muscles of the body, will drive the elevation of blood pressure – demonstrating the body’s most natural response to lack of nutrient and oxygen flow to organs.
Traditional, Allopathic Treatments
Certainly, if blood pressure remains elevated, and its causes remain unaddressed, deterioration of the cardiovascular system, and ultimately a heart attack, can become likely. Unfortunately, instead of addressing the true cause of high blood pressure, the most common medical treatments of today only address the symptoms. However, their success rates are questionable at best.
Beta-blockers – these drugs block nor epinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) from binding to receptors on the nerves, thereby causing a reduction of the heart rate and blood pressure by the dilation of blood vessels. However, in 2006 revelations in the United Kingdom, associating the use of certain beta-blockers with an increased risk of diabetes (which in turn, can lead to heart disease), led the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to advise against their primary application in the treatment of blood pressure.
ACE inhibitors – angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors reduce constriction of the arteries. Calcium-channel blockers promote dilation of the arteries. On their own, or used in combination, the relaxation of the arteries forcefully lowers the body’s blood pressure – but negates the body’s natural demands for nutrient and blood flow to vital tissues and organs. While these drugs may be effective in the time of a crisis, their permanent interference with the body’s natural mechanism raises concern.
Diuretics – these “water pills” encourage the body to expel excess water, which, in turn, reduces blood pressure. Unfortunately, these drugs are also linked to an increase in diabetes. Even worse, they do not rid the body of unhealthy inflammation or plaque – just water – leaving the cause of the problem unaddressed.
It comes as no surprise that when patients do not take their medications, their blood pressure rises again. While this would cause some to think that high blood pressure is a permanent condition that needs to be medicated for life, others would realize that in effect the true cause has yet to be addressed.
Sugar: a True Cause of Arterial Inflammation
Sugar – not salt – creates an inflammatory response in the body. While heart patients are typically advised to reduce their intake of salt in order to reduce fluid retention in the body, very little is advised about sugar. While reducing fluid retention may lower blood pressure in the short term, the elimination of arterial inflammation is more vital in the healing of this condition.
Along with sugar, damaged fats and toxins are also major dietary contributors to arterial inflammation. The complete elimination of these elements in the Maximized Living Advanced Nutrition Plan has been shown to effectively reduced blood pressure without the help of medication or other natural treatments.
Fitness and Blood Flow
The Mayo Clinic has called exercise a “drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure.” Regular cardiovascular activity, such as surge training, promotes healthy blood flow and delivery of oxygen to the cells of the body, and has been shown to reduce average blood pressure by 5 to 10 points, over time. (Maximized Living Essential #4).
Peace of Mind
Although our bodies are designed to deal with stress in rare “fight or flight” situations, our high-paced, stressful lifestyles cause the continual release of cortisol and adrenaline, leading to higher blood pressure. To offset this abnormal hormone pattern, examine your stressors, and work to limit them through daily relaxation techniques, meditation, quiet music, prayer, and rest (Maximized Living Essential #5). Daily exercise, walks, breathing exercises and hobbies will not only contribute to your physical fitness, but your maximized mind will improve your cardiovascular function as well.
The Nerve System – and the Role of Chiropractic Care in the Reduction of Blood Pressure
According to the Journal of Human Hypertension, March 2, 2007, Chiropractic adjustments were more effective in lowering blood pressure than two medications combined. George Bakris, M.D. director of the University of Chicago hypertension center, said, “Not only does it work, we saw no side effects and no problems.”
This was an 8 week study, where 25 patients with early-stage high blood pressure were specifically adjusted and had significantly lowered their blood pressure compared to 25 similar patients who received “sham” adjustments.
X-rays showed that the procedure realigned the Atlas vertebra - the ring-shaped bone at the very top of the spine - with the spine in the treated patients, but not in the sham-treated patients.
Compared to the sham-treated patients, those who received specific Chiropractic adjustments saw an average 14mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure, and an average of 8mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure. None of the patients took blood pressure medicine during the 8 week study.
Dr. Bakris reported, “When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn’t believe it. It was way too good to be true.” The statistician said, “I didn’t believe it either, but we checked for everything and there it was.” The researchers suggested that injury to the neck earlier in life can affect blood flow in the arteries at the base of the skull. Spinal subluxation at the level of the Atlas is also known to interfere with the activity of the Medulla Oblongata – the brainstem control center for blood pressure. Specific adjustments of such misalignments naturally re-set the brainstem activity to normal balance, ensuring that the body can recognize conditions of high blood pressure, and correct them through its own mechanisms, naturally.
All 5 Essentials
The application of all 5 Essentials of Maximized Living will not only address the true causes of interference in the body which lead to high blood pressure, but will forever keep your lifestyle in harmony with eternal principles that will sustain great health long-term.
This article was written by Dr. B.J. Hardick