- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Lose Weight To Lower High Blood Pressure: How Does Losing Weight Effect BP?
Hypertension or high blood pressure has been referred to as the silent killer. It causes premature aging of arteries, strokes, kidney failure and heart attacks, in many cases without warning. According to the American Heart Association, approximately one third of American adults have high blood pressure (hypertension) and many of them are completely unaware of it.
Individuals who are overweight are at high risk for hypertension because excess weight may increase the heart rate and limit how much blood can be transported by blood vessels. When these two conditions are combined it may cause high blood pressure. Although not fully understood, high blood pressure has been linked to the kidneys and their role in regulating blood pressure.
In recent years, weight loss through dietary changes and exercise have become a popular alternative to expensive drug therapies with serious side effects. A number of studies have shown that overweight individuals can lose weight to lower blood pressure and even return it to normal levels.
As weight loss begins to occur, the distance the heart needs to pump blood decreases, reducing force, resulting in lower blood pressure. The volume of blood being pumped also decreases, easing pressure on artery walls.
An overweight individual is classified as one who has a body mass index of more than 25. If the body mass index is over 30 the classification is obese. According to research done, weight loss must take place before the borderline to obesity occurs in order to lower blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure and want to lose weight, the first priority in losing weight should be to lose belly fat. Belly fat interferes with the liver's ability to clear insulin from the blood. This can cause over-production of insulin in the pancreas causing increased heart rate and tightening of the arteries, which leads to high blood pressure.
In a recent study, 220 overweight men and women in the first stage of hypertension were tested to see if a weight reduction of 5% over a six month period would result in lower blood pressure. After six months about 50% who lost 5% body weight got their blood pressure down into the normal range. The other 50% had abnormal changes in their blood vessel system making high blood pressure impossible through weight loss.
The most effective way to lower blood pressure through weight loss is with a healthy diet and proper exercise. Diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds. Exercise approved by your physician should be an hour to an hour and a half per week and should involve cardiovascular exercise and weight training.
High blood pressure is a serious condition that needs to be remedied as soon as possible. The healthy and popular choice in recent years has been to lose weight to lower blood pressure. Studies have found that with proper diet and exercise, it is possible to return blood pressure level to normal in only six months.