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Lose Weight To Lower High Blood Pressure: How Does Losing Weight Effect BP?

Updated on April 24, 2014

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.


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      Scott Seltzer 4 years ago

      I'd like more information about what you said regarding the research not being for people who are already obese. I'm trying to lower my blood pressure and, after being obese for many years, have made huge efforts to get fit (I've lost 37 pounds since I was diagnosed with hypertension 6 months ago). But I haven't seen my blood pressure change. Am I too late to solve it through fitness (not that I intend to slow down)? Is there hope for me or will I be stuck taking meds forever?

    • profile image

      Lyra Carillet 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your hub. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new hub. Keep up the good work!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Salt is the culprit for me, it is so hard to get away from! Even in ice cream and because I do fight to keep it out of my diet now something so simple can taste like pure salt to me!

    • editorsupremo profile image

      editorsupremo 6 years ago from London, England

      Good informative hub.

      It is true that slim people also have high blood pressure but the percentage is small. A high percentage of those who are overweight tend to have high BP. Losing weight can dramatically affect high BP and extend your life.

      I've written a hub on the high BP diet giving examples and also encouraging high BP patients to take up exercise.

    • profile image

      sbsidh 6 years ago

      hi,i think you should all visit poor countries.i don't know why people spend there hard earned money,when you can control your bp &diabetes in your days clinics &hospitals has become big business instead of giving proper treatment &releasing patient.i have treated people at the cost of 1$ with 15 to 30 days medicine.there are still people in this world who sleep empty stomach with all the you expect poor people to reduce there bp when they are under weight &how you expect them to take all the things what said in all above many poor people read this this hub.think.

    • profile image

      loseweightfast24 8 years ago

      Lose Weight

      The correlation between obesity and blood pressure has long been documented. Losing even a moderate amount of weight is almost always accompanied by a corresponding drop in blood pressure.

      Work with your doctor to determine just how much weight you need to lose in order to see the most benefit, especially if you are extremely obese or have any other medical considerations that need to be taken into account.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      My husband has high blood pressure but the doctor thinks it is more hereditary. Though weight loss will help. Thanks for another informative hub.

    • T. A. Northburg profile image

      Tim Northburg 8 years ago from Colorado, USA

      Great article!  I enjoy reading your informative hubs.

      T. A. Northburg

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Sorry I see a typo in my first comment my BP range is 117-130 over 77-83.

      So I am not on death's door (yet)

      Thanks for your encouragement stevemark

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      Lowering one's Blood Pressure levels are even more important now with so many medical practitioners advocating a 110/70 rather than a 120/80 reading for optimum health.

    • Seabastian profile image

      Seabastian 9 years ago from Raleigh

      Exercise definately works for me. If I get out of a regular exercise routine my bp will rise to 140-150/90-95 levels but within only 2-3 weeks of getting back on a regular exercise schedule it drops to 115-120/75-80.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Hypnotherapy-Guru! Sorry, I don't know much about hypnotism and it's benefits. If hypnotism is successful in weight loss I'm thinking it's because of it's power to direct the will towards the goal. What I'm wondering is what happens after the hypnotherapy treatments are discontinued? How does one maintain the desired weight if they haven't developed the willpower to get there in the first place?

    • Hypnotherapy-Guru profile image

      Hypnotherapy-Guru 9 years ago from Idaho

      My dad had a heart attack at a very young age, related to his high blood pressure. Although my blood pressure has always been really good, I am overweight, and I know that my risk of heart attack goes up because of this. I have been doing a lot of research into hypnosis as a way to lose weight. You have a lot of insight on weight loss, just wondering if you have considered hypnosis or have heard of anyone that has had success losing weight this way.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment market solution and thanks for stopping by!

      Thanks for your comment 2patricias and for your observation. Many times we don't see the connection between excess weight and disease.

      Thanks for your comment Die Dre! Glad you found this information helpful.

      Sixtyorso, you are a great example of someone who has struggled with health issues and has been willing to make necessary changes in diet and exercise and cure your ailments, rather than just mask them with drugs.

      Mulder, you alway have lots of great tips to add. Thanks alot!

      Cardiophile, thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

    • mulder profile image

      mulder 9 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      fish oil  ,q10  olive leaf   and rooibos tea    and even garlic  supplments  can help  Bp   even better then drugs with out the side effects     even chiro adjustments help  and yoga     the bottom line we dont get enough  omega 3 in our diets  and Doctors are so quick to push pills down your throat    Im sorry  but I stay a way from drugs to many side effects  .In fact now there is a test called the omega test that test your blood to see how much omega 3 are in your diets that will determine if you will have a heart attack or not .Have are read of this

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Premsingh I have been on then off medication for many years. If you see my hub on weight loss you will see that I subscribe to the holistic lifestyle. But about 6 months ago despite all my actions my GP got a little concerned about my BP and Cholestrol levels (both Marginally high) and put me on a light medication called Caduette which is a vascular dilator and statin combo. Pretty soon the doc will find my BP is too low and my cholestrol normal so I will probably go off meds again.


    • cardiophile profile image

      cardiophile 9 years ago from Calicut

      Nice to see that you are spreading the message of weight control.

    • Die'Dre' profile image

      Die'Dre' 9 years ago from The Great Pacific Northwest

      Such a great hub. Thank you. I was particularly interested in your comments regarding belly fat: "...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".

      I learned something valuable.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Interesting. We try to stick to a healthy diet without putting too much emphasis on weight - but we are both below 25 BMI. (wish we could say the same about our Wonderful Husbands).

    • market solution profile image

      market solution 9 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      High Blood pressure runs in my family so I take extra care with it. I used to need medicaton but have now been med free for nearly two years. Thanks for the good reminders in your Hub.

    • premsingh profile image

      premsingh 9 years ago

      sixtyorso, you may laugh of my suggestion but I'll advise to attend "Art of Living " course. It is available in most of countries. May be one day you do not need any medication. One more thing I am not associated with the organization though I have undergone its basic course.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Great Hub Steve

      My BP plays around although I have lost a lot of weight (see my hub) and sustained over a long period, I still have marginally high Bp. My range is around 177-130 over 77-83. I do take meds daily. I exercise vigourously weekdays but not normally on weekends.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comments everyone! Although high blood pressure is not the only risk factor for hypertension or a necessity, those that are overweight are at higher risk and studies have found that losing 5% body fat has had dramatic results in reducing blood pressure for these individuals. Eating a proper healthy diet with appropriate exercise not only addresses the weight issue but other factors like food toxicity and stress.

    • premsingh profile image

      premsingh 9 years ago

      There are several factors responsible for high blood pressure like worries, tension, stress, eating habbits etc but being overweight means being more susceptible to hypertension. Anyways, its a good quality hub and intersting to read. There is a flow of thoughts that compells reader to reach the end.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      High BP can be genetic as well, can't it? There are people who might have the ideal bodyweight and still have a BP problem. And when the diastolic is high, it could very often be a silent killer. That said, the fact that an overweight person with high BP can bring it down with just weight loss and no medication spells hope for so many! Great hub!

    • profile image

      Eddie Perkins 9 years ago

      Steve, very informative hub. I’m amazed at the great material I’m finding on hub pages and your hub is no exception. Keep up the good work my friend. Thumbs up and stumble for you. Thanks ~ eddi

    • Pam Pounds profile image

      Pam Pounds 9 years ago from So Cal Girl in the Midwest!

      Hi steve - I'm not overweight, but I've had high blood pressure since the '94 Northridge Quake scared the crap out of me! I've been taking meds ever since.

      I think it's hereditary with me. High BP is very scary stuff. Recently, I've had to change meds...I was waking up in the middle of the night with throbbing pounding in my head, like it was about to explode. When I took my bp on my home monitor, it was 160 over 80. Thought I was going to stroke out right then.

      Finally got meds that work, I watch my diet, do yoga, the whole nine yards. Now if I can only do something to lighten up the stress!! Good hub, with oh, so true info!!