Category Archives: Nutrition

Go to Your Chiropractor for Your High Blood Pressure

IMG_2825Hypertension is the most common primary diagnosis in the country. It is a serious public health issue affecting over 30% of the adult population of the USA. Hypertension and hypertension related conditions are a leading cause of death with nearly 350,000 per year. It is also a very manageable condition. In most cases Chiropractors should be managing these patients in their offices. Chiropractors are trained to make the diagnosis and in the treatment methods required. For some treatments they are the only practitioners trained.

Hypertension is broken into two categories, essential and secondary hypertension. Essential Hypertension is the most common and the one that we know least about. It is linked to lifestyle, genetics, age and so much more. Secondary Hypertension is easier to understand. In these cases the increase in blood pressure (BP) is caused by another condition such as kidney disease, or endocrine problems. Patients with secondary hypertension should be referred for the appropriate medical care.

Diagnosis and classification of hypertension is simple:

Systolic BP (SBP) mmHg Diastolic BP (DBP) mmHg
Normal <120 <80
Prehypertension 120–139 80–89
Hypertension Stage 1 140–159 90–99
Hypertension Stage 2 >160 >100

Blood Pressure will vary a little each time you take it so it is important to take multiple readings in a systematic manner using the same arm and technique each time. Readings over time will give you the best idea of where a BP truly is, and at least 3 readings on separate occasions are suggested.

The following is a small list of common drugs or drug categories that can increase BP:

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • Decongestants, Cough and Cold Medications
  • Headache Medications
  • Weight Loss Medications
  • Corticosteroids such as asthma medications
  • Oral contraceptive hormones
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Adrenal steroid hormones
  • Licorice (including some chewing tobacco)

The home remedy is really the only remedy, if by remedy you mean cure. You see high blood pressure is usually a lifestyle issue. That means the things that you do from day to day are causing your high blood pressure. Change those things and your blood pressure normalizes. If it doesn’t then you’re blood pressure is just a symptom of something else that needs to be addressed medically (small % of the cases). High blood pressure is just a symptom and not a disease in and of its self.

SaladThe recommendations for management of hypertension start with lifestyle modifications such as achieving and maintaining normal body weight, BMI of less than 25. Blood pressure can be reduced between 5-20 mmHg by achieving and maintaining a normal BMI. Weight loss of even 10lbs can show significant reductions in BP. Good diet, specifically the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), has been shown to decrease your BP between 8-14 mmHg. Diet can also help to decrease your weight. Reducing sodium intake as a part of your diet can reduce your SBP by 2-8 mmHg. Exercise, even just brisk walking for 30 min a day, 5 days a week, can reduce SBP by up to 9 mmHg. Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking also have significant effect on reduction of SBP.

It is not unreasonable to expect a 10-20 mmHg drop in BP with just lifestyle changes. Because all of the lifestyle changes are interrelated you cannot just add the possible reductions from each together to determine how much this treatment should reduce BP. It is important to keep a balance in treatments and utilize all of the lifestyle modifications possible.

The medical recommendations of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection,Ragnar Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure suggest that medication should be used in conjunction with lifestyle modification for Stage 1 and 2 Hypertension.  Lifestyle modification has been shown to be effective at reducing BP even without medication, and so suggests that most cases of hypertension can be brought under control without medication.  Chiropractors can provide benefit in these cases in multiple ways.  The Journal of Human Hypertension and others report that in initial studies chiropractic treatment was found to have the long term effectiveness equivalent to using two medications for reducing hypertension and it had no negative effects.  The results showed an average reduction of 17 mmHg Systolic BP and 10 mmHg Diastolic BP.  The nature and frequency of chiropractic treatments lends to more frequent contact with patients which provides greater opportunity to educate, encourage and to monitor BP levels.
In other words chiropractors use the only remedy/home remedy to treat high blood pressure. You can do it on your own or ask your chiropractor about it.

“Ugly giant bags of mostly water!”

This quote is from Star Trek the Next Generation. It is an alien life form describing humans and Hydrateis very apt. I don’t know about the ugly part, but we are mostly water. While estimates differ, our bodies are made up of 55-75% water. Water affects every aspect of our function. Many of us are not getting enough of it. Some experts feel that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. While working out you can loose 6-10% through sweat, and everyone knows you need water when you exercise, but that is obvious and our body is demanding water at that point.

Chronic mild dehydration has unknown effects. We don’t know what it does to us to be a little dehydrated for years. We do know that as little as 1% dehydration can cause a 5% decrease in cognitive ability and physical performance. This is the first time that our body will start to feel thirsty. You should be drinking before you get thirsty. If you’re thirsty then you’re already having symptoms of dehydration. We also know how important water is for us. Here are some symptoms that you may not associate with dehydration.

Some Lesser known Symptoms of Dehydration:

  • Craving for sugar
  • Headaches
  • Bad breath
  • Irritability
  • Chronic Illness
  • Chronic Pain

Some lesser known benefits of drinking water are:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased cognitive ability
  • Increased physical ability
  • Clearer skin
  • Decreased joint and muscle pain
  • Improved immune system

The next time you get the munchies, or a headache, or feel a little out of control or tired, try a glass of water.

How Long Does it Take to Heal?

Healing is hard work and you may not even recognize it.

Wound Healing

Some parts of our body heal quicker than others. This usually depends on how complicated they are and how able supplies are to get there, in other words, the blood supply. Parts with more blood supply heal more quickly. This is why a cut in your mouth heals so much faster than one on your hand. This is also why muscle strains heal faster than ligament sprains. Muscles have good blood supply and ligaments have very little.

Four-Stages-of-Wound-HealingWhen you scrape your hand or your elbow you can see part of the healing process and how long it takes. You can see the wound 4-6 weeks later still healing. With even a very mild sprain your body requires 2-4 weeks for you to regain full mobility and for swelling to fully go away. After this time you can return to full activity, but you are still not fully healed. Even though you can’t see the process your body is expending extra energy to heal for months after an injury and it is more vulnerable than usual during this healing time even 6 months after the initial injury.

There are some things that you can do to help your body to heal faster and better no matter the injury.

Things to Avoid

  • Medication. NSAIDS in particular like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. While masking your pain, have also been shown to inhibit the healing process of joints and soft tissue (Some of the research here).
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Things to do

  • Eat right. When you are injured your body has to build a whole new section of you and it needs the proper nutrients to do this. If you are eating healthy things your body will be able to get what it needs faster.
  • Get in shape. This is a preventative healing booster. When you are already healthy your body is better able to handle new injuries and doesn’t have to fight with a sluggish system.
  • Keep moving. When your body is in the inflammatory phase movement will help in transporting waste and nutrients. When in a repair phase movement will help your brain to know what areas need the most support and how to align the fibers for most effective function. You don’t want to over do it, but you want to keep using your injured part as much as is reasonable.
  • Get adjusted. If the communication of your body to and from the brain is inhibited your healing can be poor or slowed
  • Have a positive attitude. People with a positive outlook heal faster and are less likely to re-injure.

Public Health: Teach Children What it Means to Eat Right.

Many of us were never taught what eating healthy is. Children learn their eating habits Colorful Foodfrom their parents. It is a learned behavior. It is not a chore. It’s not yucky. It doesn’t mean taking vitamins, or supplements. (If you have to take those every day it means that you are eating wrong.)

We as a culture have gone so far away from eating right that we have forgotten how. Most individuals who want to eat right feel the need to research it so that they know what to do. Now, if the culture around you has not taught you how to prepare foods like this then research may be needed. There are thousands of diets out there that will tell you what and how to eat.  All of them seem to be backed by scientific research and all of them will probably be proven and disproven multiple times over the next few years.  I recommend moderation in your diet. I have found, when you ask people how to eat better they already know. They’ll tell you that they should be eating less and what they should be eating is more vegetables and fresh food not processed or fast food. The principle is that basic.

Eating right will help reduce our risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other diseases. If we teach our children this habit then in a few generations these diseases could actually become rare rather than the most common diseases in our country.

Chiropractors Manage It, But You Didn’t Know – Obesity

IMG_27012Obesity is a gateway condition leading to such heavy hitters as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, various types of cancer, gallstones, and disability. It is within the scope of practice and training for chiropractors, and is a perfect fit for the chiropractic treatment model.  Regular chiropractic appointments allow for follow up, increased accountability, and provide needed structural care for your changing body.

Most people know when they are overweight, but some don’t, and even more don’t know what the term overweight means. The classifications for weight usually involve a screening system such as Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI attempts to estimate percentage of body fat. The calculation to determine BMI is mass divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2). There are many BMI calculators that will do the math for you. The National Institute of Health has a great one that you can use.

The corresponding classifications are:

Classification BMI Score
Underweight Below 19
Normal 19-25
Overweight 25-30
Obese 30-40
Morbidly Obese Greater than 40

People are overweight for different reasons, and each reason needs to be addressed differently.  The best way to manage weight is the way that works for you. There is no one method that works for everyone. Most diets are safe and work, but usually only lead to temporary weight loss. It is important to choose the method that you want to use so that you have responsibility and accountability.  The most important thing to address is willingness. Most importantly the person must desire to lose weight and be willing to begin the process. Most people know it’s bad to be overweight and know that they should lose weight, but guilt or poor self-image are not helpful motivators for true lifestyle change. You will not be able to lose weight until you really want to and are willing to accept assistance. 

Goal setting should start simple and be written. The more actions that you take (even small ones) the more likely you are to accomplish your goal, so even accomplishing the simple goal of not drinking soda for one meal is a success that you can build on. Some simple suggested goals are: asking 3 people to help you, signing up for a race or event, or even setting a goal to write down some goals. Goals don’t have to be big and the more goals achieved the better you feel about being able to accomplish future goals.  Goals can be as easy as parking at the far end of parking lots whenever going shopping. For more examples of how to increase physical activity visit ChooseMyPlate.gov or see your chiropractor.

In any change of habit or self-improvement it is always a good idea to enlist friends. They are good to be accountable to. They are good support, and may even join in the cause.  If the lifestyle isn’t maintained for long enough or enjoyable enough to make permanent, then the benefits will also be short lived. It is important to make changes permanent. 

Chiropractors may give guidance and suggestions or just provide education to a patient on nutrition or the risks of obesity. All chiropractic schools provide basic nutritional education, but most do not provide the education required to adequately address eating disorders such as Bulimia or Anorexia.

Some great financial news is that most insurance companies recognize weight issues as a health condition and will pay for your treatment.  Some will even provide help with gym memberships.  In an effort to decrease costs one provision of the new health reform law requires insurance companies to cover obesity screening and counseling with no patient cost-sharing. The New year is an excellent time to discover a new you.  Go see how your chiropractor can help.

 

Vitamin D Humor From a Great Source

I found this video linked in a fellow chiropractors blog.  He is practicing in Meridian Idaho, so if your looking for a good chiropractor there feel free to look him up.  I know it’s done tongue in cheek, but all humor has at least a grain of truth.  See if you can find the grain

For further information on Vitamin D research try this link:

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/research.shtml

or

http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=54370

or here

http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/Vitamin_D.shtml

For more information about Dr. Chad Woolner, a chiropractor near Boise here is his contact information:

Align Chiropractic & Rehabilitation
750 W Ustick Rd Suite 100
Meridian, ID 83646

Phone: 208-639-1397
www.BoiseChiropracticGroup.com

You can also find his link in my Chiropractic Friends links on the right.