According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, high blood pressure is a common condition in the United States. A total of 87 million adults have high blood pressure. That translates into one in three adults. However, only about half (47 percent) of these people have their high blood pressure under proper control. In just one year (2009), more than 348,000 deaths occurred as a primary or contributing result of high blood pressure, which translates to almost 1,000 deaths a day for that year. The cost for high blood pressure is astronomical. The CDC estimates that it costs the nation $47.5 billion each year, which includes the cost of healthcare visits, medication, and lost work.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
As blood is pumped out of the heart into the veins to circulate throughout the body, there is a certain pressure that is exerted against the walls of the veins. This pressure level will rise and fall throughout the day as the person moves around, rests, or responds to stress. However, high blood pressure will occur if these pressure levels do not fall, or only fall a small amount. There are a number of factors that can increase the risk for high blood pressure. These include heredity, a diet high in fats or sodium, a sedentary lifestyle, and certain other medical conditions such as diabetes.
Standard Treatment for High Blood Pressure
In some cases, high blood pressure can be controlled just through changes in diet and lifestyle habits (such as starting a regular exercise program). In other cases, patients may also need to take medication to control blood pressure. However, side effects can range from leg cramps, to insomnia, to higher blood sugar levels (particularly dangerous for people with diabetes).
How Can Chiropractic Adjustments Help Lower Blood Pressure?
The atlas vertebra is at the very top of the spinal column, leading out of the base of the skull. It may well be one of the most important vertebrae because of the nerve centers at the base of the brain that sit next to the atlas vertebra. If those nerve centers get pinched, the body may respond by overcompensating in the form of higher blood pressure. A subtle adjustment to the atlas can relieve the pressure on these nerve centers, thus helping to bring the blood pressure levels back down.
What Does the Research Say?
An article from the May 2007 issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension examined the effect of a chiropractic treatment on the atlas vertebra upon blood pressure. The researchers divided 50 patients into two groups. One received chiropractic treatment, while the other group received a fake, or sham, treatment. At the end of the eight-week study, the group that received the chiropractic showed a significant decrease in blood pressure compared to the group that received the sham treatment. The researchers concluded that chiropractic care can provide a safe, non-surgical alternative to medication to treat high blood pressure.
Dr. Horst works with patients who have high blood pressure, using a combination of chiropractic adjustments and diet and lifestyle changes to help them lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. Contact Horst Chiropractic today to schedule your appointment.