The Link between Obesity and HypertensionPosted: Oct 15 in Health And Wellness by Staff
High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition that is frequently associated with obesity. Individuals with obesity experience twice the risk of hypertension than normal weight people.
Obesity and hypertension affect the lives of millions of Americans each day. More than one in three adults in the United States have obesity and nearly one in three have hypertension.
Medical professionals can measure obesity and hypertension. A weight loss specialist uses a mathematic formula using the patient’s height and weight to determine the Body Mass Index (BMI). These medical professionals consider a person with a BMI greater than 30 to have obesity. Hypertension is diagnosed if the blood pressure is greater than 140/90 on 3 occasions, or greater than 160/100 on any occasion.
In many cases, the lifestyle changes that result in weight loss are also beneficial in hypertension and it is quite common for people in medical weight loss programs to decrease their hypertension medications or stop taking them completely as they lose weight.
How Obesity Causes Hypertension
A blood pressure reading is a measurement of the pressure that blood exerts to the inside of blood vessel walls as the heart pumps blood. As it moves through the high pressure blood vessels called arteries, blood presses against the inside of blood vessels to create pressure. Medical professionals can measure this blood pressure with device called a sphygmomanometer or blood pressure cuff.
Hypertension is complex disorder. The heart creates the force that pushes the blood through the blood vessels but it is the resistance to the bloods movement through those blood vessels that is measured as the blood pressure. This is called vascular resistance and it increases as blood vessels become smaller. Obesity is often associated with atherosclerosis which reduces the elasticity of arterial walls. As elasticity reduces, blood pressure rises.
As ones weight gets to an unhealthy BMI, more blood vessels are required to nourish tissues and cells. Fat is an active tissue and requires an extensive blood supply. The heart of individuals with obesity has to pump blood through the additional blood vessels supplying fat tissues and so it must pump with a higher force than if the body were smaller. This additional force is measures as higher blood pressure.
Weight Loss Reduces Risk for Obesity and Hypertension
Results from the Framingham Heart Study, a famous study that lasted 44 years, suggest that excess body weight accounts for 28 percent of hypertension cases in women and 26 percent of male cases.
Fortunately, weight loss decreases reduces the risk for hypertension. Dr. Ethan Lazarus and the team of experts at Clinical Nutrition Center in Denver can help maximize the benefits of a sensible diet and exercise plan to promote weight loss. Anyone concerned about obesity and hypertension should consult with an obesity specialist to learn more about the health benefits of weight loss.