Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a big problem, big news and big business!
Some of the statistics about heart disease prevalence are quite shocking; so, if there was a simple, non-invasive therapy that could be used to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease it should get a lot of coverage, right? No taking drugs for the remainder of your life, no surgery, no repeated doctor visits - just a series of re-constructive interventions like those delivered at the Atlantis Wellness Centre in Woodbridge.
CVD is the number one cause of death around the world, leading the way in industrialised countries and developing countries alike. Globally approximately 17.3 million people died from CVDs in 2008 (30% of all global deaths). 7.3 million deaths were due to coronary heart disease and 6.2 million were due to stroke - both of which share common origins in lifestyle mis-behaviour. In the US every year about 785,000 people suffer a first heart attack and another 470,000 experience an additional attack.
The fact that the number of prescriptions for "life-saving" lipid modulating drugs (statins) increased from 295,000 to over 50 million between 1981 and 2011 reflects the disturbing global fixation on cholesterol levels, discussed below.
The hypothesis that "cholesterol is bad" is flawed. Firstly few people are aware that cholesterol is absolutely critical for animal life with brain synapses, bile, cell membranes and sex hormones especially depending on cholesterol. Secondly, its action within the body is misunderstood; it is complicated and certainly not as simple as cholesterol hardening the arteries and restricting blood flow, or the "sludge in the drain" theory.
A very recent US study concluded this:
"It appears quite clear from the literature that "cholesterol" levels have nothing at all to do with atherosclerotic plaque formation, and subsequent CVD."
The study also points to a follow-up of the famous, 30-year "Framingham Study" in the US, which began in 1948 and followed thousands of men and women over a number of decades, along with their children and spouses, and even the grandchildren of the original cohort in 2002. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently ran a report on the latest findings stating that:
"After age 50 years [of age] there is no increased overall mortality with either high or low serum cholesterol levels."
In another statistical review of 15 countries in 2008, comparing heart-disease rates in men aged 35-74 and average cholesterol levels, study author Kendrick concluded that:
"There is a complete and utter dissociation between cholesterol levels and heart disease."
Prescription drugs block receptor sites or interfere with the human enzyme systems, thereby changing bodily function. They are expensive and cause side effects, so relying on them based on flawed science and assumptions is irresponsible, and will almost certainly have long-term negative effects.
The Connection to Inflammation
Inflammation is a subject that doesn't get much attention despite being the underlying cause of many chronic diseases. That it is part of the bodily system to fight injury is clear, but the world poorly understands why inflammation continues and can lead to disease after the initial intervention of the body's defence mechanisms, even though the empirical evidence is quite clear on this.
Inflammation and atherosclerosis have long been associated, with over 10,000 articles on the subject since the first one was published in 1966. The association is made at all stages of the disease and even low-grade chronic inflammation can help to predict risk of disease developing. Interestingly, one of the effects of statins is to reduce inflammation.
In mechanical terms, inflammation is closely connected to subluxation (spinal abnormality), which means it's essential to focus on correcting the dysfunctional biomechanical spinal segment; it is known that mechanical disturbance and irritation to spinal joints and nerves causes an inflammatory process that affects neurological function and can lead to musculoskeletal problems and disease.
Kendrick reviewed the medical literature and found that spinal cord injuries have been associated with:
Low HDL levels (and other lipid abnormalities, e.g. raised LDL levels)
Sharply raised blood-clotting factors
Insulin resistance (leading to diabetes)
Visceral obesity [a well-known risk factor for CVD]
Increased risk of dying of heart disease.
So the role that spinal re-constructive care plays in reducing inflammation has great potential in the treatment not only of heart disease, but other chronic diseases and conditions that are plaguing us globally today.
The Study and Its Findings
A case study and review of literature by Eric Zielinski and Nate A. Blume was recently published in the US, reporting on a 54 year old male patient with dyslipidemia who experienced lipid panel normalisation from chiropractic care (a primitive, un-developed form of spinal re-constructive care). The patient had a past history of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and angioplasty (artery-widening). After electromyography, range of motion, and thermography readings and blood readings were taken, a series of vertebral subluxations at the levels of C1, C5, pelvis, and sacrum were found and worked on over a 5-month period. It lowered cholesterol levels, despite no other reported lifestyle changes occurring, and the patient was able to reduce his medications.
While this is only one study of one man in his 50s, the influence of stress-related inflammatory and hormonal responses have long been believed to be a factor in the plaque build up involved in atherosclerosis and its subsequent complications with CVD.Â
The study concludes that:
"A review of literature indicates that subluxation-based chiropractic care may be effective in managing atherosclerosis and other risk factors associated with CVD due to its potential effect on inflammatory markers."
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in the U.S. are honest in admitting that "The cause of atherosclerosis is not known", even though scientific data shows quite clearly the factors that cause it! Inflammation is a major marker that something isn't right, this is quite clear, but it is what causes the inflammation that is the subject of most debate and actually the thing that is important; since inflammation is only a response to something that is wrong, it in itself is never what has gone wrong.
We need to look at heart disease not in isolation, but in connection with the factors causing the rise of other related chronic diseases and conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity. In each case there is a factor of factors causing inflammation, this cannot be ignored; it is not difficult to trace this back to lifestyle factors, especially diet, lack of physical activity, excessive sitting and now poor mechanical structure also - all of which have profound effects on the organ systems of the body. The ubiquitous emphasis on cholesterol may be misplaced, but with billion-dollar industries depending on its perpetuation, a widespread change in thinking depends on educating individuals instead of relying on the marketing messages or the say-so of lazy MDs who follow pharmaceutical company advice.
If you'd like to take charge of your life and health, give us a call today to get a consultation. Perhaps chiropractic care can be your saviour to reduce cholesterol levels, inflammation, and/or any back, neck or sciatica pain you may be experiencing.