Doctor, Why Is My Blood Pressure High?
The Quality of Your Life Comes Down to the Questions You Ask Yourself.
Most people and doctors fail to ask the right questions when it comes to health and disease. They run a myriad of tests and if they see a certain up or down, they prescribe a drug/supplement or cut out an organ to raise or lower the number. The key question that must be asked is why is that number is up or down?
The body was created with an incredible healing & life forming power that took us from 2 half cells to nearly 75 trillion cells. This same power runs every system and function in our body.
The body has certain natural needs and requirements that when met create an inner peace, harmony, & homeostasis. This is health. When there is a dangerous level of toxicity or deficiency in any of these necessary requirements, a state of disharmony occurs causing decreased function and disease.
The Most Common Cause of Hypertension:
It is known today that 95% of all cases of high blood pressure are completely preventable & reversible.
When the body encounters any physical, chemical, or emotional stress certain hormones and neurotransmitters are stimulated. If the conditions go uncorrected or unregulated, the body turns from acute stress mode (normal and natural) to chronic stress mode (abnormal and dangerous for long-term health). One of these hormones secreted under these conditions, cortisol, has several key distinguishing functions (1, 2, 3):
1. Increased Blood Sugar:
Over time though, if we have elevated stress hormone, it increases insulin secretions which causes a switch towards fat storage & pro-inflammatory pathways. This continued cascade of high cortisol/high insulin eventually causes weight gain through fat storage, protein depletion and massive inflammation destroying the endothelial wall of the arteries, causing scarring, rigidity, reduced pliability & high blood pressure (4, 5).
2. Lowered Oxygen in Blood
Under stress, our bodies revert to short, shallow breathing habits causing lowered oxygen content and increased levels of carbon dioxide in our tissues. This causes our metabolism to switch to anaerobic (without oxygen) sources of fuel (stored sugar and protein).
Anaerobic sources of fuel leave behind high levels of metabolic waste and free radicals which damage organ and tissue cells.
3. Increased Cholesterol:
Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the body that is necessary for brain and neurological function in that it is a vital component for memory and learning. Cholesterol is also needed for sex hormones (testosterone, progesterone) as well as vitamin D (6).
Cholesterol is a repair mechanism. When our bodies are in stress mode, there is a need for cellular repair, therefore cholesterol naturally rises in response. Short-term this is a good response. Long-term, if the body is inflamed the cholesterol will get oxidized by the constant cascade of free radicals. This can severely damage the blood vessel walls (7).
4. Acidic Blood Stream:
High cortisol causes a lowered oxygen state within the body. This lowered oxygen state, causes the blood stream to be acidic due to greater levels of carbon dioxide binding to the hemoglobin.
When the blood stream is acidic, the body must compensate by utilizing more water and alkaline buffering minerals to neutralize (stealing fluids & nutrients from joints, blood vessel walls and other structures such as bone, muscle and ligaments).
5. Disrupted Sleep Cycles:
Cortisol should naturally lower at night to allow the body to relax and fall asleep and should elevate in the morning to provide instant energy and wakefulness. When our bodies are in a chronic stress mode, we have abnormal flocculation’s which disrupt our sleep cycles and leave us groggy in the morning and exhausted throughout the day.
6. Ligament Laxity:
Elevated cortisol levels cause ligaments to become more lax (8). This reduces joint stability, leading to increased susceptibility to injury. The most important area this affects is the spine, which houses and protects the spinal cord and nerves which control the function and healing processes of the organ systems.
Chronic stress causes uncontrolled damage to the spine and nervous system, called subluxation, leading to a number of possible symptoms including pain, restricted motion, & organ dysfunction (9, 10). The most sensitive areas of the spine are at the top and the pivot from the neck to the mid-back.
When subluxation is present in these areas it affects heart and vascular function causing increased blood pressure. See a wellness chiropractor for a specific examination to evaluate your risk of subluxation.
Sources For This Article Include:
- Moyer AE, Rodin J, Grilo CM, Cummings N, Larson LM, Rebuffé-Scrive M. Stress-induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women. Obes Res. 1994 May;2(3):255-62. PMID: 16353426
- Epel EE, Moyer AE, Martin CD, Macary S, Cummings N, Rodin J, Rebuffe-Scrive M. Stress-induced cortisol, mood, and fat distribution in men. Obes Res. 1999 Jan;7(1):9-15. PMID: 10023725
- Whitworth JA, Williamson PM, Mangos G, Kelly JJ. Cardiovascular Consequences of Cortisol Excess. Vascular Health and Risk Management. 2005;1(4):291-299.
- Shoelson SE, Lee J, Goldfine AB. Inflammation and insulin resistance. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2006;116(7):1793-1801.
- Dogra G, Irish A, Chan D, Watts G. Insulin resistance, inflammation, and blood pressure determine vascular dysfunction in CKD. Am J Kidney Dis. 2006 Dec;48(6):926-34. PMID: 17162147
- Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. Section 26.4, Important Derivatives of Cholesterol Include Bile Salts and Steroid Hormones. Link Here
- Gesquière L, Loreau N, Minnich A, Davignon J, Blache D. Oxidative stress leads to cholesterol accumulation in vascular smooth muscle cells. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Jul;27(1-2):134-45. PMID: 10443930
- Vozarova B, Weyer C, Snitker S, Gautier JF, Cizza G, Chrousos G, Ravussin E, Tataranni PA. Effect of cortisol on muscle sympathetic nerve activity in Pima Indians and Caucasians. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jul;88(7):3218-26. PMID: 12843168
- Models of Vertebral Subluxation:A Review Link Here
- Knutson GA. The role of the gamma-motor system in increasing muscle tone and muscle pain syndromes: a review of the Johansson/Sojka hypothesis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Oct;23(8):564-72. PMID: 11050614