There are many different causes for high blood pressure. The most common cause is thought to be atherosclerosis, an almost unavoidable hardening of the blood vessels with age. This is often referred to as essential hypertension. Many people end up on tablets, perhaps multiple tablets, to control their blood pressure and so reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
A research group in China has been considering whether high blood pressure can be the result of CSM. Recent evidence has pointed to the role of the sympathetic nervous system, a group of nerves which travel throughout the body, in causing high blood pressure. This Chinese group theorise that cervical cord compression leads to a communication affect on sympathetic nervous system, and high blood pressure.
Published in PLOS one, the Chinese group (2015) analysed patients with CSM undergoing surgery. They found that in patients with a pre-existing high blood pressure, the surgery significantly lowered their blood pressure and heart rate. This appeared to be independent of any changes in pain levels (increased pain is known to increase blood pressure).
These are interesting findings, which need much further work to convincingly prove a link between CSM and high blood pressure. However if it is the case, effective treatment of CSM could potentially reduce the need for people to be on life long blood pressure medication.
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