Doctor James on Health and Wellness

Common sense answers to your most burning health questions

Archive for March, 2008

Can Chiropractic Improve Your Child’s Health???

Posted by doctorjames on March 15, 2008

There seems to be a lot of confusion in our world today regarding alternative therapies like chiropractic, acupuncture, herbology/nutrition, and other versions of mind-body medicine. Today, I am going to and demystify chiropractic and hope to give you an understanding of how you can use it to create complete wellness.

In discussing chiropractic, it has nothing to do with “crunching and cracking,” that is simply nitrogen bubbles floating out of a joint. What chiropractic really deals with is the FUNCTION OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM. The reason I used all caps for that last statement is because chiropractors themselves sometimes don’t even understand this. How do they expect the anybody else to.

Chiropractic is based on function. If the nervous system is functioning at 100% with no interruptions, it will regulate every cell in your body correctly. If the nervous system becomes interrupted by a physical trauma, a chemical trauma, or an emotional trauma, the cause will have its effects!

The nervous system is composed of your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It is really that simple. They regulate how you breathe, how your heart pumps, how much insulin your pancreas secrets, how much acid your stomach produces, how much bile your gall bladder sends out for digestion, how your thyroid acts, how your body reacts to an “invader” to amount an appropriate immune response, etc. What I am trying to say is that your nervous system controls everything. It controls down to the cellular level how your body is going to respond to a demand. If it is not functioning correctly because their is some “static” in the system, it will not produce a healthy body!

When the nervous system is interfered with through what is called a vertebral subluxation, the body malfunctions. It is as simple as that folks! Now, picture your computer. What happens when your computer malfunctions? Does it run the program correctly? No! You get a message that says “error 723 application 45.” You scratch your head and call the “computer doctor!” He fixes the interference and now your computer runs the program flawlessly. Chiropractic removes the vertebral subluxation in the spine, allowing the body to communicate with every organ, gland, blood vessel, and cell to create health with no interference, static, or error messages.

If there is “static” from a nerve being interfered with as it leaves the bones in your back, it will cause and effect. The effects can be anything! Yes…anything! Why? Because your nerves control every function in your body! So, here it goes…if your nerve is interfered with it causes dysfunction. Now, if that dysfunction is allowed to manifest over time, the dysfunction will turn into dis-ease (lack of ease in the body). Dis-ease will produce symptoms such as pain! It is this simple folks. As soon as the interference is removed from the body, it begins to function the way it should. When function returns, symptoms go away, dis-ease can be erased, and the body can go back to a complete state of wellness.

Your body is a self-healing and regulating organism. It has the ability to produce as much health as possible or adapt to the malfunction. Trust me, it is amazing at adapting to its malfunctioned internal environment. But, your body can only deal with malfunction for so long before you start to feel the effects called dis-ease. Now, I don’t say disease because the medical world actually took this work and unhyphenated it…now it is something to be feared! It actually used to be written this way. It is a lack of ease of one of your internal organs due to stress.

When there is malfunction or dysfunction of a system in the body like a muscle, organ, cell, or gland, we start to feel it. But, at this point you can’t quite put your finger on what it is. You go to the doctor, they check you out, maybe even take some pictures and do some blood work, but find out everything is normal! You think to yourself, how can this be? The reason is it is still at a dysfunction or malfunction state. Only when the malfunction is allowed to become dis-ease will it show up in a test. At that point, it is truly late and it is something you have had coming for a long time, possibly from childhood even! Your body adapts to all of these little malfunctions until finally it can’t “hang” on anymore and has to cause you more signs and symptoms so that you go and take care of the problem!

If you do have dysfunction and/or dis-ease it is due to interference in the nervous system and it can be corrected if found soon enough. No pill, dance, potion, lotion, or voodoo will remove the interference. They will remove your pain and symptoms but you still have underlying dysfunction and/or disease…not a good thing. The dysfunction and the disease can then progress further to produce more symptoms. The next step then is to get another pill to treat the next symptom that was caused by the interference to the nervous system. Why not correct the cause? The “static” in the nervous system!

I did mention above that many of these problems start in childhood, but many more of them actually occur with what is known as birth trauma. If a vertebral subluxation occurs at birth causing dysfunction or malfunction and creates “static” in the system the baby will eventually have symptoms. If this is adjusted and corrected, the baby will then not be held back by this interference. The interference can cause all sorts of things…too many to list, but that is why chiropractors see lots of children. It makes sense if these problems start at birth or in early childhood to get these malfunctions corrected as soon as possible. There are cases of children with degenerative disc disease believe it or not. It is due to a slip, fall, or birth trauma. Now, if this child is allowed to live with this it will affect them as they age. If the interference is in the upper neck they will have headaches, ear aches, and sore throats. If the interference is in the mid to lower neck they will have thyroid problems and arm problems. If it is between the shoulder blades they will have breathing difficulties, asthma, heartburn, bloating, and gas. If it progresses further down the spine they will have blood sugar handling problems and fatigue. Allow this subluxation to progress further and we start to see intestinal problems such as Crohn’s disease, colitis,  diverticulitis, and other gastrointestinal problems. At the very bottom of the spine the subluxation will affect the nerves that go into the legs and to the bladder and reproductive organs. This can be a major cause of infertility and “dribbling” problems in females.

This is why chiropractors are on a mission to help kids! If they are able to adjust them at a young age to remove the interference and allow the nervous system to function without any “static” in the system that produce error messages, the body will function optimally and you will have a healthy child! It is really that simple.

Chiropractors are not back crackers, they are life savers. They restore function back to the nervous system allowing you to live a happy and healthy life. Chiropractors adjust your back, but their main focus is not on pain. The main focus of a chiropractor is on treating the interference in your spine to allow all of your cells, organs, and systems to begin to function normally once again! Wouldn’t that be great…return your body to normal! In essence, it is creating wellness one step at time. Although the journey can be long, you have to start by stepping out to the path. The path maybe 100 miles long, but you have to start with a single step forward to begin to even finish walking the path. You will see some great things along the way, but removing an obstacle to healing with a chiropractic adjustment will go along ways to improve your health.

Remember nerves go to organs, glands, blood vessels, and all the cells of your body. You cannot be well if these nerves cannot get to these places. It is like watering half of your lawn. The one side will begin to brown and die while the other half stays healthy and green. Essentially, this is what takes place in your body. When diseased tissue spills out into the periphery it sends out chemical messages to bacteria to clean it up. You see, the bacteria were not the cause of the sore throat, the are a subsequent reaction! Please read my article the bacteria myth to further understand this.

I want everyone to live with the health they have always imagined and it starts with checking all the children. One child at a time we can save a life!

Your health and wellness advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson

Posted in Chiropractic | Leave a Comment »

The Placebo Effect

Posted by doctorjames on March 9, 2008

This goes to show you the power of the mind in any therapeutic event. We are in the infancy of understanding the mind and embracing mind-body relationships. If a placebo works this well, why are we even giving actual pain-killers that cause side effects. Read this article published in the New York Times and see if you think the same things I do…the mind is our most powerful tool for healing…when we harness this power within our own body we get amazing healing!

By BENEDICT CAREY

Published: March 5, 2008

In marketing as in medicine, perception can be everything. A higher price can create the impression of higher value, just as a placebo pill can reduce pain.

Published in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/health/research/05placebo.html?_r=2&oref=login&oref=slogin

Either use the link above, or read below…

Now researchers have combined the two effects. A $2.50 placebo, they have found, works better one that costs 10 cents.

The finding may explain the popularity of some high-cost drugs over cheaper alternatives, the authors conclude. It may also help account for patients’ reports that generic drugs are less effective than brand-name ones, though their active ingredients are identical.

The research is being published on Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The investigators had 82 men and women rate the pain caused by electric shocks applied to their wrist, before and after taking a pill. Half the participants had read that the pill, described as a newly approved prescription pain reliever, was regularly priced at $2.50 per dose. The other half read that it had been discounted to 10 cents. In fact, both were dummy pills.

The pills had a strong placebo effect in both groups. But 85 percent of those using the expensive pills reported significant pain relief, compared with 61 percent on the cheaper pills. The investigators corrected for each person’s individual level of pain tolerance.

“It’s a great finding,” said Guy H. Montgomery, an associate professor of cancer prevention at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine who was not involved in the research. “Their manipulation of price affected expectancies of drug benefit, and pain is the ultimate mind-body phenomenon.”

Previous studies have shown that pill size and color also affect people’s perceptions of effectiveness. In one, people rated black and red capsules as “strongest” and white ones as “weakest.” Other information like the country where the drugs were manufactured can also affect perceptions.

“It’s all about expectations,” said the lead researcher, Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke and the author of a new book, “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions” (HarperCollins). His co-authors on the report were Rebecca Waber, Baba Shiv and Ziv Carmon.

“When you’re expecting pain relief, you’re secreting your own opioids,” Dr. Ariely added. “And when you get it on discount, you doubt it, and your body doesn’t react as well.”

Eric Nagourney contributed reporting.

Posted in The Placebo Effect | Leave a Comment »

Lose Weight the Easy Way

Posted by doctorjames on March 7, 2008

If your reading this article obviously you are interested in weight loss and think how the heck could this be…crushing weight loss without dieting…sounds too good to be true, but folks I am going to introduce you to a program that is going to blow dieting out of this world.

Lets make this short and sweet. This program is based on the simple training methods used by sprinters versus endurance runners. I understand, most of you have friends who are training for the big marathon. They are in great shape and maybe even lose a few pounds. Here in lies the problem…Can you prepare for a marathon every year for the rest of your life…I didn’t think so! On top of this, most novice runners prepare for one marathon, do it, and then never run more than 3 miles again anyway. Do you get it? For most people it is a goal accomplished. Most of them won’t ever run again until they train for their next big race. This is not ok if you are looking for true health.

Have you ever stopped to look at what a sprinter looks like vs. a marathon runner. Your typical sprinter is built like an NFL running back. A marathon runner is skinny, lanky, and lacks the big thick muscles.

As you may already know, the muscles in our bodies are key to weight loss because they use so much energy. For every pound of muscle we gain, our metabolism increases resulting in more calories burned!

You see, to have crushing weight loss and amazing muscle gains, one does not need to diet, count calories, eat low fat, watch the carbs, etc…but, you have to work out three times per week for 20 minutes! A total of 60 minutes per every 6 days! Do you think you could do this. Let me explain further how this works.

My office is built on lifestyle change. We do not accept a patient if they are not ready for change and do not commit to a program at 100%. Granted, these lifestyle changes usually take an average about one year because we work with the patient over the year to develop new habits and leave the old ones behind. We find most of our patients really start kicking in new habits about five months into their program…and that is OK.

You see, we don’t want deal with the person that views weight loss and health as a monthly fad. We want to design and implement a program that a person can follow for the rest of their life…yes, you heard me…for the rest of their life! You can still do this program when you are eighty because it is based on your individuality by developing an intensity score. On a scale of one to ten, the exercise should always be in the range of somewhere between 8 to 10. Ten meaning all out…something you can only keep up for about 4-5 seconds. Nine, would be more like 10 seconds, and 8 more like 20-30 seconds.

Here is the program in a nutshell. It is simple, like a said before, and only requires three days a week of working out and only 60 minutes per week. You alternate every other day between weights and cardio. This program is not designed to make you into a body builder, but is designed to keep your health and increase your health. On lifting days, you choose whatever muscles you want to work out for 20 minutes. IT DOESN’T MATTER which muscles you work out, what matters is how intensely you work out! You could do arms one day and legs the other, but in all honesty it does not matter one bit…like I said before, we want to keep this simple. On cardio days, you are either on a bike, tread mill, elliptical, stair climber, rower, etc. for 20 minutes.

On lifting days, your goal is to lift a certain number of pounds and increase it throughout the plan until you plateau. How many pounds you lift is based on how many pounds you actually moved over time. So, if you did 10 sets of 10 reps in 20 minutes with 10 pounds, your total weight lifted in a 20 minute time period would be 1000 pounds! That is what you would record as your “record” for the day. How did I get this number? I simply took 10 pounds times 10 reps which equals 100. Then, since you did 10 sets…10 different times…I multiplied 100 times 10 to get 1000 pounds.

The reason pounds lifted over time is so important is because this is intensity! The more intense your workout is, the more weight you will push during it. The more sets you can get in, the more pounds you lift. This program is strictly designed to do as much work as possible in a 20 minute period of time. You should be leaving it all out on the floor and you should want to be done at 20 minutes! Do you get it? You need to work out hard enough that you don’t want to workout one minute passed 20…this is where true health, weight loss, and muscle gain happens. If you feel you can work out for another 20 minutes than your intensity needs to go up. Over time, what you are looking for is an increase in pounds lifted per workout. The more weight you move, the more fit you are! It really is that simple. So, you need to record the sets you do, or plan your workout before hand to reach a certain number of pounds lifted. If you plan before hand, make sure you over sell it. By over selling it, I mean put in a few extra sets that you know you may not get to because over time you will get to them.

The cardio portion is just as simple…more work over time without worrying about calories being burnt…I will get to that in a moment, but first let me explain your cardio workout. Whatever machine you choose is fine, so switch it up every once in a while so that your workout does not become stagnant. You need to fool your body and shock it every once in a while…so switch it up…the body loves when you shock it with something new…in fact, it craves it! The 20 minute work out is simple. You go hard and then rest, go hard and then rest. You want to focus on short bursts of activity followed by a period of rest. Your heart loves this and so do your muscles. In the beginning, you may do something like 4 minutes of higher paced running, biking, stair climbing etc. The important part of this is that you are doing something followed by rest. Knowing you are going to rest for three minutes to catch your breath makes your four minutes of activity more intense. You can’t keep a 20 minute constant run to intense because your body can’t keep up with demand. So, you go 4 minutes as hard as you can and you recover for three or four minutes…then you go hard again for 4 minutes and you recover again…all the way to 20 minutes! SIMPLE!!! Don’t over analyze this…it works!

Over time, just like pounds lifted, you want to decrease the time of your intensity and rest. We want this to become a sprint workout. Trust me, the day you can do an all out sprint for 10 seconds with a 30 second recovery and go again repeatedly for 20 minutes…you will look like an NFL running back….this is similar to doing about a 60 to 90 yard dash every 30 seconds for 20 minutes in a row…YEAH…not very easy!!! Do you get my drift…intensity will always blow away endurance type of cardio. So, mix it up and try to to short bursts of intensity followed by periods of rest. Your heart loves it!

I know what you are saying now because I am already one step ahead of you. But how at my age of ____ can I do that intense of activity…answer…you can’t by looking at it that way, but your 10 is different than my 10. You may huff and puff going up a flight of stairs and that is ok…if you are 90 years old…that would be a workout for a 90 year old…and guess what, they would be pretty healthy by doing that for 20 minutes straight. You have to ease into this and find what works for you…but, again, you have to leave it out there. When 20 minutes passes, you should not be able to go any longer than 20 minutes…if you can, you are not working hard enough…trust me, I could make you work so hard you couldn’t get passed 10 minutes!

Why does this work? How can you produce outstanding results without dieting. The answer is simple. YOUR WEIGHT LOSS DOES NOT OCCUR IN THE GYM OR DURING YOUR WORKOUT!!!! Read this statement again…in fact…read it three times, repeat it out loud three times, and then write it down on paper three times…then you will own this statement. You will begin to laugh at all of your buddies spending hours per day in the gym, while you blow them away with your results you get in 20 minutes…3 days per week!

Weight loss occurs outside of the gym because of what is called EPOC. EPOC stands for excess post oxygen consumption. To keep things simple, it basically means your metabolism stays elevated and burns more calories over time for the next 24-48 hours. Here is the kicker and the thing you need to understand. The individual who spends an hour running on the treadmill at a jogging pace will only burn calories on the treadmill…so, maybe he or she burns 1000 calories…GREAT!!! But, here is where they lose every time…jogging does not increase EPOC a great deal. EPOC is increased by high intensity workouts…I repeat, EPOC is increased by high intensity workouts! You have to own this. This program is designed around this exact principle. You see, when you are done working out is when your calories are being burnt…in fact, you will increase your burning of calories for the next 24-48 hours. Don’t you think that is better than burning them for the measly hour spent on a treadmill running? You will blow your buddy away. Sure, he burns a lot more than you at the gym, but he doesn’t understand you don’t need to burn a lot of calories because your burning of calories occurs outside the gym due to EPOC…isn’t that great.

Here is the kicker though. You have to feed your muscles. This program has nothing to do with dieting. Now, you can’t eat big macs and fries every day and have great health. What I am saying is that you have to make sure and add fuel to the fire every two to two and a half hours. Think of your metabolism as a bon-fire. If you don’t constantly give it more wood to burn, it just turns into a bunch of hot red coals and eventually goes out. You have to keep adding fuel to the fire so it can keep burning hotter and hotter. If you suppress the fire by not adding “fuel” to it, you are killing your weight loss potential. You have stopped it for that day. You have to understand that it is crucial that you eat every two hours or so. No, not candy neither…I am talking about eating something with high quality macronutrients that are balanced…something that has a decent amount of protein, carbs, and fat…don’t forget the fat…you need it!

When you begin to understand this plan, which usually takes our patients about 3 months…give or take…you begin to see that you are no longer dieting. YOU ARE FEEDING YOUR MUSCLES INSTEAD! What an interesting concept! You don’t feel deprived because you are not on a diet! Not to deflate your balloon, but alcohol will supress your fire very quickly, so just be warned on the nights you want to indulge…you have put out the fire…don’t worry about it because you will be working out either the next day or the day after that again! You see, don’t get caught up in the details. You can’t be perfect! In fact, you never will be so stop trying to live up to a false sense of self! Instead, strive for excellence! Excellence means you give your best and know that you have given it. As soon as you strive for excellence in life, trust me, your stress goes way down. Never, ever, try for perfection after reading this…write it down and speak it aloud…I WILL STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE FROM THIS DAY FORWARD!!! Type A people, you need to own this. This will save your life and I truly mean that! I will explain that in another blog at a later time.

This really is a simple program to follow and one that you could adapt for life. Anybody can use this program to their advantage because we all have different intensity levels. A 20 year olds picture of intensity is going to be different than a 60 year olds…and guess what??? That is OK because they are both getting the same workout for their heart. The 60 year olds heart and lungs will work just as hard as the 20 year olds heart and lungs if they are both doing a “9” on an intensity scale. Do you get it…a “9” is a “9” is a “9.” What maybe a 8 for you, may be a 10 for me. We all have different fitness levels. The key is to find out what your different levels are and keep improving on them.

This is absolutely the best possible program for a time crunched world and a overweight world. It is simple and to the point and produces dramatic results. But, here is what I want the take home message to be. This program is designed to be used for LIFE!!! This program is not a fad to be used or “tried” for the next 3 weeks, two months, six months etc. It is for life! You have to get it through your head that you have to workout at minimum 3 days per week for the rest of your life. As soon as you own that, which usually takes between three and six months in our clinic, you are well on your way to achieving the health and weight loss you have always dreamed about.

You really can’t get bored with this program because it is all up to you. I recommend that you plan your workouts and your food for superior results, but do what is comfortable for you. I am a huge believer in the fact that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! Definitely if you have a busy job or home life, you have to schedule your workouts…no ifs ands or buts…your spouse should see on the schedule a half hour blocked off three times per week for your HEALTH!!! They should understand this completely. But, if you don’t plan it that way, you will have problems. So put it down on the calender every week when your workout time is, and don’t stand around the gym and talk for an hour after your workout. Your family needs you at home. A half hour is a half hour. Get the workout done and leave the gym. Trust me, your spouse will love you for it. Not to mention the fact that when you do get in better shape your bedroom life will get better…enough said!

You now have no excuses. Get to work and after 3 months email me at thedoctorjames@gmail.com. I would love to hear your story of how you are doing and how freeing it is to own this plan and only have workout three times per week. It is about working out smarter to produce the desired result…not longer…who really does have 2 hours everyday to spend in the gym…I know I don’t…GOOD LUCK…and GO GET ‘EM!!!

Your health and wellness advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson

P.S. Always take January off without exception…this is not optional. You need time for renewal…and your body needs a rest. Plus, you don’t want to go to a full gym and weight in line with all the new fad dieters that won’t make it till February!

Posted in Weight Loss | Leave a Comment »

Can emotions cause a heart attack?

Posted by doctorjames on March 6, 2008

I thought all of you would really love to see this video on Dr. Mercola’s website…please view it and see if your thoughts change on functional illness…such as a heart attack!

When will we wake up and realize that stress wears us out. It wears us out in such a particular way that it shows up in your tissues! Constant worry, fear, fright, depression, anxiety, all lock you into an emotional “tailspin” so to speak. What is the answer? Medical world seems to think it comes in a little pill that is toxic to say the least. Medicine is designed to bypass the nervous system to create a physiological change. It does nothing to fix the disease that has been caused by dysfunction, which in this case is the result of emotions not being “owned” or handled…kept in check. If the emotion goes unchanged, it runs us. It runs our entire life. Dr. DeMartini, his website is http://www.drdemartini.com, is one of the leaders in this revolution. He teaches us how to control our emotions and how a balance has to be met from a quantum physics view.

The problem with an emotion going unchecked is that it actually changes our physiology by disrupting our nervous system. As you may or may not know, or brain runs everything in our body by a connection called the spinal cord and its subsequent nerves. In fact, your nervous system controls your immune system, hence neuroimmunology. Any interference in the transmission of a neural impulse from the brain down through the spinal cord and out to an organ, gland, blood vessel, cell, nook or cranny will affect your health! It is that simple! There are only three things that can cause interference to the neural impulse: physical trauma…such as overuse syndrome, accidents, etc., chemical toxicity…such as chorine, flouride, mercury, hair dye chemicals, preservatives, additives, food dyes, shampoos, lotions…the list goes on and on, and last but not least EMOTIONS! Emotions are the largest disruption to the neural impulse!

When an emotion goes “unchecked” and is allowed to harbor it switches our nervous system in to a hyper state of sympathetic functioning. In order to obtain ultimate wellness, your autonomic nervous system has to stay balanced…no ifs ands or butts! If you are in a state of increased sympathetic activity all the time, that emotion will cause an effect due to the “tone” of the nervous system. The problem is that the patient is constantly in fight or flight…sympathetic activity…instead of rest and digest…parasympathetic activity. A person with this increased tone of their nervous system will first suffer dysfunction, but long held dysfunction turns into disease which is when you finally get symptoms! You are right…too late!!! The disease is upon you know. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to stop this at dysfunction stage? The best part about this is that you can. By studying Dr. DeMartini’s work, Dr. Hamer’s work (www.germannewmedicine.ca), and emotional freedom technique by Gary Craig (www.emofree.com) you can overcome the increased tone in your nervous system and solve your long held health problems. Cool…is right!!! This is the new wave of medicine. I suggest that if you have a long standing emotional issue or trauma that you wrap your arms around it today and take care of it. Your health is decreasing everyday due to the ramping over your sympathetic system. And, until you own that emotion and rewrite the event, you will still feel the affects from the cause…the emotion.

As soon as people begin to realize that we only have control over so many things and have to let go of the stuff we cannot control, true healing takes place. I see it time and time again in my office. Get the patient to have a good cry and teach them how to rid themselves of that event in their life that spiked them into increased sympathetic tone, you truly get “spontaneous healing.” But, now you know there is nothing spontaneous about it. Your body is designed to heal itself if it is given the appropriate “program.” Chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, naturopathy, etc…are very good alternatives to help your body regain its health. Remove the obstruction to healing…an emotion, a physical cause, or a chemical toxicity, and the body can do amazing things. Your body is designed to self healing and regulating. The band-aid does not heal the cut, your body does. In fact, you get a new liver every month, and new red blood cells about every 120 days…now, that is cool. Your body is like brand spankin new every year! Think about how much you could change your health in one year by just one simple lifestyle change. Your body will love you for it.

This video is about how emotions cause disease….enjoy, and start your search inside yourself to unlock that emotion that is keeping your from achieving peak wellness. May you enjoy the abundance of health you were designed to enjoy!

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/3/6/you-will-never-guess-the-surprising-cause-of-most-heart-attacks.aspx

Your health and wellness advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson

Posted in Your Heart | Leave a Comment »

Why is High Blood Pressure So Dangerous?

Posted by doctorjames on March 5, 2008

High blood pressure tends to be dangerous because of the way blood is supposed to flow through your vascular system. In a healthy artery, blood flows in a streamline fashion, meaning it flows without interruption. In an artery that has been affected by high blood pressure, the flow of blood through the artery becomes turbulant. A healthy blood pressure is 120/80. When it becomes 140/90 on three separate days with three separate readings, a diagnosis of hypertension can be given. Letting your blood pressure creep any higher than this is not OK! If your normal resting blood pressure is no where near 120/80 and it is on the high side, you need to see your doctor.

Now, to understand the difference between streamline and turbulence, one just has to understand how water comes out of a hose on a nice hot summer day. We have all been there as kids playing with the hose with no spray nozzle on it. If the water is coming out of the end of the hose in a streamline fashion, we can take a drink out of it because it just flows so nice and gently out of the end. But, when your friend comes walking by you put your thumb over the end of the hose and it sprays harder and in all kinds of directions…this is essentially turbulence…the loss of a smooth and uninterrupted flow.

Now, imagine your heart. In a good healthy heart of a fit individual, the stroke volume is large and the pulse is slow…possibly in the 50’s and even lower in elite athletes…40’s. Normal pulse rate is 72 beats per minute in the average adult. Having a slower pulse rate and a larger stroke volume is easier on the heart. In an unhealthy individual, the pulse rate tends to go above 72 and the stroke volume decreases. This results in more work for the heart with little time to rest…not a good thing! As soon as the heart is at rest and reaches 100 beats per minute, tachycardia can be defined.

To understand how the heart beats we have to think of pumping and relaxing. Pumping is considered systole, and resting is considered diastole. How much our heart gets to rest and the subsequent volume it pumps out is our stroke volume. It is very important that our heart gets adequate time to rest and fill. After the heart pumps, blood enters into the left ventricle to be pumped again. The more blood allowed to go into the ventricle to be pumped out to the body, the larger the stroke volume.

We can’t talk about blood pressure without including the arteries. Believe it or not, arteries are muscles. They are constructed of what is called smooth muscle. The interesting fact about arteries is that they do contract. Why you ask? Arteries use a series of contractions to propel the blood to where it needs to go. Now, you can imagine what happens if your arteries are “out of shape” due to lack of exercise or calcium deposits. The arteries don’t push the blood as long as good as they used to so your blood pressure has to go up! This puts more stress on your left ventricle which has to hypertrophy due to increased demands to pump blood to the body. More resistance causes the heart to push with more force to pump the blood out of the ventricle and into the aorta. This puts more stress on your heart, and more stress on your arteries.

The problem with turbulence in an artery is that it breaks down the inner layer of the artery overtime. The artery is composed of three layers, the inner layer, the middle layer, and the outside layer. When blood pressure increases, it damages the inner layer of the artery because of the turbulent nature of the blood flow. We can liken this to a water pipe in a home. When calcium builds up on the inside of the pipe, water passes over this bumpy area and becomes turbulent instead of streamline. Eventually, the water will make a hole in the copper pipe and the pipe will start to leak!

Now, your artery is just about the same. When the blood pressure increases, the blood in the artery starts to bounce off of the walls and break the inner layer down. When it damages the inner layer of the artery enough, it eventually creates a “hole” in the inner layer. When this hole appears, the body reacts by either patching it with LDL cholesterol or HDL cholesterol depending on how high or low your good and bad cholesterol levels are. The problem with LDL making a plaster over the hole is that it is easily oxidized. When the fatty cholesterol plaque closes off the hole, the plaque will oxidize and turn into what is called a foam cell. The problem with oxidation is that the foam cell begins to grow. When it grows, it starts to narrow the lumen of the artery because it cannot expand the middle layer due the muscle being to strong. So, it has no where to go but to bulge inwards!

Here in lies the problem. We already have turbulent blood flow and now we have a bump in the middle of the road! The problem with turbulence and with the bump is that platelets in our blood stream bounce off each other and activate an enzyme system called complement. When this happens, platelets become “sticky.” Sticky platelets create a problem downstream from the bump in the form of a thrombus. Eventually the thrombus grows and either breaks free or completely closes off the artery resulting in tissue death!

An interesting fact is it is not the arteries that are 90 percent closed that we need to worry about. The most troublesome and dangerous arteries are the ones that are 50 percent occluded. This is because the 50 percent occluded artery is less stable. The fibrous cap is jelly like and has not hardened. If turbulent blood comes flowing through this artery, the chance of this fibrous cap breaking off is extremely high. As a matter of fact, doctors seem to worry about the worst occlusions and want to stent them. A stent is put in to open up the arteries and keep them open. The sad fact is that 40 percent of stents will fail by the 3rd week! That is not OK! It is almost like flipping a coin to see if it will actually work for you or not.

Arteriogenesis is the process in which the body provides a new route for the blood to flow through. The body actually produces a brand new vessel. It is just like a river forming another route due to a damning up by some natural barrier. The water will continue to flow, it just finds another route. So, most arteries that are 90 percent occluded have been around for a long time. In dogs, they have found if the clamp off an artery to the heart they are able to grow a brand new “tributary,” or brand new arterial supply to that area of the heart within 3 months. Are we overdoing stents? We will leave that one for the future to answer!

An infarction occurs when there is tissue death in the area where the blood can’t get to because your blood carries oxygen in the form of red blood cells. If it happens in your brain, it is called a stroke, if it happens in your heart it is called a heart attack.

Your best bet to break free from high blood pressure and its sequelae of tissue oxygen lack to a vital organ is to start eating right and exercising. Really, it is simple when you think about it. Stay away from all the processed sugars, and grains and eat from the “garden of life” again. Like I say, if it wasn’t here 200 years ago…don’t eat it!

By adopting an organic, gluten and dairy free diet, your body will recover by losing weight and effectively ridding itself of toxins. Eating more pure, and eating only grass fed animals will produce amazing results in your health. To heal your body, you cannot eat any meat that is not grass fed or organic free range like a chicken. Grass fed animals and free range animals have an omega 3 to 6 ratio that is consistent to produce healthy cells in our body. Any thing else, will ruin your health. Just think for a moment, a grain fed animal is grain fed because it makes them get fat faster so they can be sold for more money! Is it any wonder why we get fatter and fatter? In order for these animals to gain weight so fast, it is also necessary for them to be on antibiotics everyday in everyway! This is because these animals are usually confined and are very sick. So, whether you like it or not, you are getting antibiotics everyday if you eat anything other than grass fed.

Trust me, there is no miracle exercise plan. Do whatever you want to do to increase your heart rate higher than getting up from the couch to go to the fridgerator. Thirty minutes per day is sufficient exercise. Do you get it? Just do something, anything to get your heart rate up. Even if you want to start jogging, it does not mean you have to jog for one half hour straight. You jog 3 minutes and rest 3 minutes up until 30 minutes. This is perfect for you to start off with! IT IS OK! Trust me, your heart rate will stay elevated during those three minutes of rest if you are not used to exercising. Then, it is simple when you get more in shape, you just manipulate the numbers…run 2 minutes, rest 2 minutes…run 1 minute, rest one minute…run 2 minutes, rest one minute…run 3 minutes rest one minute…run 5 minutes, rest one minute…and so on…you get it! Exercise is not a one month thing, two month thing, or three month thing…it is a lifestyle…FOR LIFE…so you have to have fun with this and mix it up. It is not about killing yourself with the latest exercise technique!!!

Put all of this together, exercise, diet, and stress control methods and your blood pressure will drop dramatically. It will drop so much in fact that you have to watch out for you blood pressure going too low if you are on blood pressure medication. If you plan to start an exercise regimen, make sure you tell your doctor. He will want to monitor your strength of your medication because if your blood pressure drops too low you will fell dizziness, possible tunnel vision, fainting, fatigue…etc.

The best thing about all of this is that your heart will get stronger, your arteries will heal, and your strength of contractions in your arteries will become greater to push the blood along! This will result in lower blood pressure because your muscles are stronger…your heart and the smooth muscles in your arteries. Do you get it? Also, you will increase your HDL, or good cholesterol levels, which will help to take the sludge out of your blood stream resulting in lower blood pressure. On top of that, your muscles will once again become more sensitive to insulin! That is awesome because you won’t have as much sugar storing as fat or floating in the artery itself.

When you think about it, your artery is simply a pipe. If you fill it up with a bunch of cholesterol, sugar and other solutes, it is a thicker substance, which means it needs more of a force to pump it along! So, medical doctors use a blood thinner to help in this situation because it thins the blood! What a concept! It decreases the solutes in the blood stream essentially lowering blood pressure by requiring less force to move the fluid through the artery!

The best thing you can do today to prevent these adverse reactions is to make sure first of all that your blood pressure is right for your size. You see, not all of us should be 120 over 80. Some of us are a little bit older so there is an adjustment for age. Also, if you have a really small frame, your blood pressure tends to run a bit lower. So, check with your doctor and if it is looking like it is high, you need to start your life change that day! High blood pressure is the silent killer, so chances are you have been having high blood pressure for some period of time that has already caused damage that you may not even know about. This is why high blood pressure is so scary. My advice…quit killing yourself and change!

We need to start taking control of our health and take responsibility for our bodies. Trust me, if we take away your high blood pressure medicine and you are not eating right or exercising, you will still have high blood pressure! So, my question to you is this…DID THE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE DO ANYTHING TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH? It did not reverse a condition, it just silenced it. Don’t be fooled by this and give into temptation. Medicine is there to buy you time…maybe three months to give your body a bit of help to get started on an exercise program without further damage occurring. This is the ONLY and I repeat ONLY thing high blood pressure meds can do…buy you time!

Time and time again we have worked with people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels in our clinic. It really is simple, take the junk out and the sugars and trust me, one month your blood pressure will drop massively! Stay on the plan long enough and you can actually reverse heart disease! Now, doesn’t this sound better than taking some sort of pill? And for all of you men out there, uncontrolled high blood pressure is the leading cause of impotence! That should be enough to get your butt off of the couch and get out there. If you are really unsure of how to change your diet you need to take a nutritional typing test. The nutritional typing test is one of the best things you can possibly do for your health. You can find it with the following link (http://products.mercola.com/nutritional-typing/?aid=CD243)

When it is your time to change, it is absolutely necessary to go through an intense detox week. This will jump start your system in one week and clean it out. At our office, we use a product by Metagenics that is a medical food. By cleaning up the body and cleaning up the blood, we can take the patient to new and great health faster than ever before.

Spring is a time for new beginnings. Get out into the sun and nature and start exercising. Take it one day at a time, have fun with it, and most importantly remember this is for life…not just a fad your going to start and do for a few months. As soon as you form a habit and get passed your head…our biggest obstacle…you will have the health you have always wanted and always deserved!

Any questions or if you need solutions, email me at thedoctorjames@gmail.com.

Your health and wellness advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson

Posted in High Blood Pressure | Leave a Comment »