For many reasons, one-third of American adults are estimated to suffer from high blood pressure. This puts them at risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems. While diet is a factor, high blood pressure has been linked to genetics. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you’re more likely to have it. While diet and exercise can improve your prognosis, many doctors also prescribe key medications. How does blood pressure work? Every time you visit a doctor, they’ll most likely use an arm cuff to measure it. It’s the force of the blood as it pushes against artery walls. The systolic number you see at the top measures the pressure associated with heart beats. The diastolic (bottom number) measures the pressure between each heart beat. The average healthy person has a blood pressure level of 120/80. Once you get into 120-139/80-89, this is considered prehypertension. Hypertension describes blood pressure levels of 140-159/90-99. Some patients reach stage 2 which is 160/100 or higher. Patients can also have low blood pressure levels. If you hit 180/110 or higher, you’ll need emergency care.
Risk Factors Associated with Hypertension
Hypertension can be far more fatal than many people realize. Even if you have a family history of hypertension, you might not be well versed in the importance of prevention and early treatment. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) considers high blood pressure to be a factor in 360,000 deaths in 2013 alone. The CDC has also connected it to heart attacks, strokes, chronic heart failure, and kidney failure. If you have a family history, you should always be aware of your risk. Schedule regular screenings and take care of your body. Doctors and researchers have connected high blood pressure to other factors as well.
- Age: As you age, your risk of high blood pressure also rises. Estimates show 65% of Americans over 60 suffer from high blood pressure. Recent estimates have shown high blood pressure is more common among teens and children due to the rise in obesity.
- Race/Ethnicity: African Americans are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure compared to Caucasian or Hispanic Americans. African Americans are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure earlier in life. They often report higher numbers. They are also less likely to reach target blood pressure goals when treatment is implemented.
- Weight: Overweight or obese people face a higher risk of blood pressure even when young. Overweight measures your weight compared to your height. Obesity is defined by a certain body fat percentage.
- Gender: Men under 55 are more likely to develop high blood pressure than women. Women over 55 are more likely to develop blood pressure than men of the same age.
- Lifestyle: Your diet matters when it comes to your blood pressure. Too much sodium or too little potassium can increase your blood pressure. Too much alcohol or stress or lack of exercise can also make you more likely to suffer from high blood pressure.
Treating and Preventing High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be diagnosed during any routine medical checkup. For those suffering from high blood pressure, there are many treatment options. Doctors can prescribe medications to help you keep it under control. Some patients prefer to try non-pharmaceutical methods first. What can you do?
- Natural Supplements: Supplementing things like cinnamon, potassium, and folic acid can help patients control their blood pressure. Many patients also take garlic, coenzyme Q10, or l-arginine. Severe cases should always be treated with prescriptions and ongoing medical care. In the early stages, patients can experiment with different options.
- Diet and Exercise: Healthy lifestyle changes are one of the best ways to treat high blood pressure and keep it from coming back. Some patients lower their salt intake while also increasing potassium levels. If you smoke, you should quit as soon as possible and curb excess drinking. You can also cut back on caffeine.
Regular Chiropractic Adjustments: One of the easiest ways to derail an exercise routine is through avoidable injuries. If you’re overweight, you could be more prone to injuries. A personal trainer can help you find the right routine and work your way up gradually. Regular adjustments can keep your spine properly aligned for fewer injuries and better results. Some say chiropractic adjustments also keep vital pathways your body uses every day clear. This could also reduce stress levels.
A study in March of 2017 was published in the Journal of Human Hypertension. It showed improvements after adjustments involving the Atlas vertebra. 50 test subjects with high blood pressure participated in the study. Outcomes continued to improve through the eighth week. It could be longer, but patients were only tested for eight weeks.
If you have high blood pressure or just want to stay healthier, chiropractic care is a key tool. McKenna Family Chiropractic can schedule your first appointment and explore the possibilities. For more information on how McKenna Family Chiropractic can help,