High Blood Pressure (hypertension) is a real problem to your hearts health. 40% of adults in England have high blood pressure according to the NHS. You may have heard of high blood pressure, but what is high blood pressure and what are some of the high blood pressure symptoms you may experience. This is important as high blood pressure is known as the silent killer. Most of the time you won’t even know that you are suffering from high blood pressure problems.
Recent research was done in the US looking at the effect of a specific Chiropractic technique on high blood pressure symptoms. The Chiropractic high blood pressure study was very promising and is being investigated further with bigger numbers. So if you are looking about controlling high blood pressure the natural way then the latest Chiropractic study might interest you. So read on about high blood pressure symptoms and trying to control high blood pressure the natural way.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
So you are worried you may have symptoms of high blood pressure but what are they? Well again high blood pressure is known as the silent killer so most of the time you won’t know that you have high blood pressure till a doctor takes your blood pressure reading. Your GP may say that you have a raised blood pressure level above 140/90 mmHg. But what is 140/90 mmHg mean. Well 140 is the systolic reading whilst 90 is the diastolic reading. Systolic is the pressure needed to force oxygenated blood around your body. Diastolic is the pressure when your heart is at rest between beats. The mmHg means blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries as blood moves through them.
So is having a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg the only symptom of high blood pressure. No, hypertension can cause end organ damage which could be the reason you end up seeing a doctor. Here are some of the symptoms of end organ damage from hypertension:
- Heart Attack, myocardial infarction,
- Kidney Failure
- Eye damage, retina damage
As you could see these are nasty symptoms showing that due to the high blood pressure force on the organs of your body that they started failing. So it is important to have your blood pressure checked to see how healthy your heart is to avoid things like a stroke. You can watch this video on high blood pressure by the NHS.
Types of Hypertension
Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. You can get two types of hypertension Essential or Secondary.
Essential hypertension is the most common type of high blood pressure.
Essential or primary hypertension is caused by many factors. The causes of essential hypertension are what the NHS and UK government would like the public to change. This is when you see the stop smoking videos on TV or don’t binge drink ads. Obesity is another factor in hypertension. Being over weight has many affects on the health of your body with high blood pressure being one of them. So don’t grab the salt before tasting your food, does it really need more salt? And of course exercise goes hand in hand with obesity usually. Lack of exercise makes you put on weight and prevents the heart from staying healthy. These are mainly lifestyle disease we have created for ourselves.
Secondary hypertension is when an organ fails and causes our blood pressure to rise. An example would be your kidneys. Kidney disease like poly cystic kidney disease which is inherited by our genes causes our kidneys to fail. Kidneys that aren’t working properly can cause your raised blood pressure since kidneys are important for regulating our blood pressure levels.
How To Measure Blood Pressure
To be diagnosed with hypertension you need a persistent raised blood pressure level above 140/90 mmHg. So if your blood pressure is below 180/110 mmHg but above 140/90 mmHg then a few blood pressure reading s would be needed.
Blood pressure readings of 180/110 mmHg are a medical emergency
The Nice guidelines recommend that a patient return for at least two subsequent consultations after the initial high blood pressure is assessed with two further blood pressure readings under the best conditions available in order to identify hypertension. You can read more about the Nice NHS Hypertension guidelines here.
Risks for High Blood Pressure
In most cases of high blood pressure there is no identifiable reason for getting hypertension. So that would mean it is difficult to pin point your exact risk of getting high blood pressure problems. There are some risk factors to consider though:
- Age – the older you are the more likely to occur
- Ethnicity – Afro-Caribbean and South Asian (India, Pakistan and Bangladeshi) origins are more likely to develop high blood pressure
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- A poor diet
- Lack of exercise
Age and ethnicity are things you can’t change but the others can. Trying to live a better life by eating well, exercising regularly and within your heart rate limits to maintain a healthy weight are controllable risk factors.
Chiropractic Hypertension Study
As mentioned in the begging in 2007 there was a study that was of great interest on high blood pressure and Chiropractic. The Chiropractic hypertension research could be one way in the future of controlling high blood pressure the natural way. Chiropractors check their patients for high blood pressure if their health history or symptoms like headache neccesitate it.
“This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. “And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems,” adds Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center.
Here is the abstract from the Chiropractic Hypertension Study in the Journal of Human Hypertension:
Anatomical abnormalities of the cervical spine at the level of the Atlas vertebra are associated with relative ischaemia of the brainstem circulation and increased blood pressure (BP). Manual correction of this mal-alignment has been associated with reduced arterial pressure. This pilot study tests the hypothesis that correcting mal-alignment of the Atlas vertebra reduces and maintains a lower BP. Using a double blind, placebo-controlled design at a single center, 50 drug naïve (n=26) or washed out (n=24) patients with Stage 1 hypertension were randomized to receive a National Upper Cervical Chiropractic (NUCCA) procedure or a sham procedure. Patients received no antihypertensive meds during the 8-week study duration. The primary end point was changed in systolic and diastolic BP comparing baseline and week 8, with a 90% power to detect an 8/5 mm Hg difference at week 8 over the placebo group. The study cohort had a mean age 52.79.6 years, consisted of 70% males. At week 8, there were differences in systolic BP (-179 mm Hg, NUCCA versus -311 mm Hg, placebo; P<0.0001) and diastolic BP (-1011 mm Hg, NUCCA versus -27 mm Hg; P=0.002). Lateral displacement of Atlas vertebra (1.0, baseline versus 0.04° week 8, NUCCA versus 0.6, baseline versus 0.5°, placebo; P=0.002). Heart rate was not reduced in the NUCCA group (-0.3 beats per minute, NUCCA, versus 0.5 beats per minute, placebo). No adverse effects were recorded. We conclude that restoration of Atlas alignment is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy.
Chiropractic Hypertension Video
So the key thing is this Chiropractic high blood pressure study looks promising but more research needs to be done. Currently the Plamer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, USA is recruiting patients for their clinical trial called Chiropractic for Hypertension in Patients (CHiP).The hypertension clinical trial will be done at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research.
Do You Have High Blood Pressure?
So what should you take home about hypertension so far. Most high blood pressure problems can be treated or prevented by making changes to your lifestyle. Controlling high blood pressure the natural way should include things such as exercising more regularly, eating a healthier diet and cutting back on your consumption of alcohol. There are also hypertension medicines available that can help lower your blood pressure. Chiropractic is being studied further in looking at controlling high blood pressure the natural way, but until then follow the advice of your GP or cardiologist.
- Bakris1 G, Dickholtz M, et al. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study Journal of Human Hypertension (2007) 21, 347–352.