Welcome to February where we celebrate our healthy hearts and what we can do to help get our hearts pumping in a healthier rhythm for life!
First Step – Recognizing the Right Steps Towards Heart Disease
Our fun filled convenient lifestyle just may be marching you towards heart disease faster than you may expect.
Do you suffer with high blood pressure already? Are you overweight, do not exercise, enjoy a heavy intake of processed, fatty, calorie-laden, fiber- and nutrient-deficient foods? Add just one more – smoking and you may be a time bomb ready to happen.
Heart health is a significant topic these days for two simple reasons: First, increasing evidence suggests our poor dietary choices puts us at major risk for heart disease; and second, evidence also suggests wise dietary choices and other natural proactive measures can protect the heart and have that muscle pumping stronger than ever.
Chiropractic Care A Great Step
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women today. Although chiropractic care is mainly associated with alleviating soft tissue discomfort, the benefits of chiropractic have been proven to extend beyond adjustments of the spine. Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments can help to prevent heart attacks, reduce heart rate, relieve chest pain, and lower blood pressure, which is all good news for your heart! An added bonus is that they specialize in the human body as a whole system and are experts in helping you put all the correct pieces together to help you achieve optimal health – from the inside out.
Understanding Heart Function
To understand how chiropractic care can impact heart health, you need to understand how the heart functions.
Let us begin with envisioning that even if all of the nerves going to the heart were disconnected, the heart would still beat. That is because it has its own ‘pacemaker’ called the sinoatrial node. The sinoatrial node maintains a heart rate of approximately 70 beats per minute in an average adult. The rhythm remains constant regardless of whether you are exercising or sleeping, stressed or relaxed.
Luckily there are nerves attached to the heart that speed up or slow down the heart rate depending on the demands of the body. The sympathetic nerves originate from the thoracic spine and cause the heart rate to speed up. The parasympathetic nerves originate from the brain and cause the heart rate to slow down. This is an oversimplification, but the bottom line is that the cardiovascular system is controlled by the nervous system. The brain receives communication from the body for an increased or decreased demand and relays that demand to the heart via the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic and sympathetic are also called the autonomic nervous system because this part of the nervous system works automatically. You do not have to try to make your heart speed up or slow down, the brain regulates it automatically through the nervous system communication.
Here is the Chiropractic Difference
This is where Chiropractic care can make a difference. The primary function of the spine is to protect the nervous system. When the spine gets misaligned by an injury or stress it can cause interference in nervous system communication. This area of misalignment is called a vertebral subluxation.
Chiropractors adjust the subluxation to restore nervous system communication. When the nervous system is able to communicate freely with the rest of the body, optimal health is possible. The body’s amazing ability to be healthy is called homeostasis. For there to be homeostasis in a body there must be proper communication between the brain and tissue cell. If there is interference in the communication optimal health is not possible.
We know that diet and exercise are important in helping to prevent heart disease, but without proper nervous system communication, your diet and exercise may not be as beneficial. Cardiovascular exercise is supposed to help with heart health, but if the nervous system does not have proper control over the heart function due to vertebral subluxation (communication interference), the exercise can stress the heart beyond the normally beneficial range.
Therefore, regular chiropractic adjustments should be used to maintain heart health along with proper diet and exercise. It is always easier to maintain something than it is to correct it. A chiropractor can analyze the spine for subluxations and correct them to prevent impaired nervous system control. Don’t wait to get high blood pressure before utilizing chiropractic, diet and exercise to maintain heart health. It’s always best to enable the body to use its innate ability to regulate itself rather than depending on medications. Medications to treat heart disease may have many unwanted side effects.
Ready to Help!
As February is National Heart Health Month, it’s time to utilize all of the weapons at your disposal to fight heart disease. Chiropractic care is the perfect complement to a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. You should have your spine adjusted on a regular basis because the nerves don’t just go to the heart, they help regulate every organ in your body!
For Your Health,
Dr. Scott Van Dam