Learning the Link Between Hypertension and Obesity

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight is essential. Otherwise, you’re at a higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, and diabetes. These are all serious health conditions that could take years off your life. 

At Ross Bridge Medical Center, in Hoover, Alabama, Madhav Devani, MD, has helped scores of patients lose weight. In this blog, Dr. Devani explains the link between hypertension and obesity. 

What is hypertension and what is considered obese?

Hypertension

Blood pressure refers to the force of blood as it travels through your blood vessels. If there’s too much force, you have high blood pressure, or hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, your risk is higher of developing serious health problems, such as heart attack and stroke. 

A blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg or less is ideal. When you come to Ross Bridge Medical Center, we’ll always check your blood pressure. You can also buy a blood pressure monitor to check it at home. If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, we may prescribe medication, such a low-dose water pill or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. 

Obesity

People with a body mass index of 30 or greater are considered obese. Obese people are at a higher risk of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

How can obesity lead to high blood pressure?

If you carry excess weight, your kidneys may have to work harder, which could hamper their ability to function. Your kidneys are important, because they remove waste and extra fluid from your body. As a matter of fact, they filter about 200 quarts of blood every day and make 1-2 quarts of urine, which contains waste and extra fluid. 

If your kidneys don’t function properly, they may not remove enough fluid, thus increasing the volume of blood in your blood vessels. And if you have too much blood in your blood vessels, you’ll have high blood pressure.

Other considerations

Eating too much salt can also raise your blood pressure, because salt attracts water. And the more salt you have in your blood, the more fluid your blood vessels will retain, thus increasing the pressure in your blood vessels.

If you need to lower your salt intake, try the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. It’s based on eating whole grains, low-fat dairy, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. It’s been around for years and is safe.

Losing weight will naturally improve your blood pressure. And if you lose enough, you’ll lower your risk for developing other complications, and you may even be able to reduce or eliminate your need for blood pressure medication.

If you’d like to get your blood pressure checked, or if you’d like to get help to lose weight, book an appointment online or over the phone with Ross Bridge Medical Center today.

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