Recently I saw an article online about chiropractic and cholesterol, and I had to offer my feedback. Below is my comment along with the article below it. I have had first hand experience with patients lowering their cholesterol from my chiropractic adjustments.
Great article. There are many nutrients and life style improvements that can help normalize cholesterol, but we must not limit our understanding to that. Chiropractic is much more powerful than that. Every cell membrane in the body contains cholesterol, so when the body needs to repair damage such as inflammation or anticipated damage such as stress it will increase the production of cholesterol.
During times of lower stress and lower inflammation the body will not need to make as much cholesterol. So nutrition can help reduce inflammation, but we must also understand that the chiropractic adjustment is a powerful stress interrupt.
Chiropractic adjustments are traditionally aimed at restoring function and reducing pain in various locations of the body, particularly spine-related complaints. The focus is on the neuro- (nerves), musculo- (muscles), -skeletal (bones and joints) system and their related ailments like neck, mid-back, low back, and pelvic area pain. The problem is that every day patients come to us with MANY health problems that go beyond spinal pain; therefore, we have to treat the WHOLE PERSON. Because chiropractic care is about restoring overall general health and well-being, and since the body cannot be segregated into only one system (like only the neuromusculoskeletal), the rest of the body including the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, nervous, and the rest of the “systems” sometimes have to be addressed in order to improve the patient’s complaint(s). This month, let’s take a look at the current approaches utilized to control cholesterol and how chiropractic fits into the picture…
As you’ve probably heard, the prescription rate of statin medications (drugs that lower cholesterol such as Lipitor) has gone gangbusters in our society in the last decade. Ironically, one of the most common and debilitating side effects of the statin group of medications is generalized, sometimes disabling, muscle pain caused by something called “rhabdomyolysis.” Since chiropractors treat MANY patients with muscle-related pain, it’s quite common for these people to visit chiropractic offices for help managing their general muscular pain, not considering the cause of their pain may be from the side-effects of their medication! Discontinuing the statin medication may be the only way to stop this very painful and fairly common side-effect. That is, if it isn’t too late and the muscle pain has not become permanent!
In November 2013, The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released NEW cholesterol drug guidelines. These guidelines use a special calculator that takes into account these lifestyle factors: 1) Weight of the patient; 2) The patient’s age; 3) Cholesterol / LDL numbers; 4) Blood pressure; 5) smoking habits; and 6) Use of blood pressure medications. The new focus is on exercise, losing weight, eating the right foods, and being aware of the risks. Statins are recommended for people already diagnosed with heart disease, those with extremely high LDL’s (bad cholesterol), middle-aged type 2 diabetics, and those between 40-70 whose estimated 10-year risk is calculated at 7.5% or higher. Some experts criticize that the calculator overestimates how many people need statins and caution is recommended to NOT depend solely on this approach. The ultimate goal is to reduce bad cholesterol by 50% for those with high risk and 30-50% for those with moderate risk, of which studies report that this will reduce the chance of having a heart attack. The shift to include lifestyle changes and to NOT only focus on one number (cholesterol level) is a step in the right direction, especially for those who can’t tolerate statins due to the sometimes significant muscle pain side effects.
In respect to whole person care, chiropractors manage aspects that negatively affect health, and that includes cholesterol management. Dietary approaches include, not only guidance in eating the right foods, but also in recommending specific nutrients that can lower cholesterol. For example, studies show eating fewer processed food reduces “trans-fats,” (which increase LDL’s and reduces the “good” HDL cholesterol), and saturated fat. This is reportedly MORE helpful than eating less cholesterol-rich foods! Nutrients like Red Rice Yeast can help reduce cholesterol without the side-effect risks. Weight loss, blood pressue control, and smoking cessation are other ways we can help you win this war! We want you to live longer with a higher quality of life!0 COMMENTS