High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases risk of heart attack, aneurysm and kidney failure and is one of our country’s leading causes of death, responsible for approximately one in six adult deaths each year. Since the condition often exists with no signs or symptoms, it often goes undetected. Research indicates 28 percent of the U.S. population may have undiagnosed high blood pressure, so if you haven’t had yours checked recently, please do! And if it’s high, take note, high blood pressure is often preventable.
Understand Side Effects
There are times when medication is necessary to control blood pressure, but it’s important to consider the side effects of long-term use. “Medications that reduce blood pressure (such as diuretics and beta-blockers) can actually reduce magnesium levels in the cells which are vital for them to function,” says Dr. Chirag Shah, D.C., Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Burr Ridge. “The less magnesium in our cells, the unhealthier they become and this can influence a further spike in blood pressure and increased dosages of medications. It’s a vicious cycle.” Other reported side effects include leg cramps, dizziness, insomnia and erectile dysfunction.
Fortunately, Dr. Chirag says it’s possible to lower or maintain blood pressure naturally by getting to the root of the problem. For many people, obesity causes blood pressure to rise. Working toward a healthy weight as a possible alternative to taking medication is great for your blood pressure and your overall health. Just a ten-pound loss has been shown to reduce blood pressure in overweight people (those with a body mass index of 25 or greater). Determine your body mass index here. Beyond weight reduction and maintenance, Dr. Chirag shares four holistic measures for blood pressure control.
Breathe Deep & Meditate
Mindfully meditating and practicing deep breathing techniques for 20 minutes, one to two times each day, may have a positive effect on blood pressure. Studies have shown that regular participants significantly lowered their blood pressure and psychological distress.
High intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves short bursts of exercise and frequent rest periods, provides positive health benefits, which may include lowering blood pressure and an increase in cardiovascular and muscle strength.
Drink Green Tea
If you don’t already drink green tea, now is the time to start this simple practice. Consume 1-2 cups daily to help reduce blood pressure. Research says green tea may achieve this by inhibiting an enzyme that restricts blood flow. Use caution when drinking green tea alongside beta-blocker medicine; researchers have found that it can interfere with certain medications. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
Chiropractic Care & the Atlas Bone
A University of Chicago Hypertension Center study showed that chiropractic adjustments of the atlas bone, a vertebra that helps support the head, may reduce high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, Dr. Chirag recommends speaking with a chiropractor about this potential treatment as part of your overall high blood pressure care regimen.