Will weight loss lower blood pressure?
For this question, let’s define what hypertension and high blood pressure are. Blood pressure is defined as the pressure applied to the artery walls and is measured using a blood pressure device that reads the systolic, top number, and diastolic bottom number. The top number or systolic blood pressure is the blood pressure level when the heart is beating, and the bottom number or diastolic blood pressure is the blood pressure when the heart is a reset in between beats. The combination of these numbers produces a blood pressure reading that determines normal, prehypertension, hypertension levels. Normal is 120/80 and below on each of the top and bottom numbers. Prehypertension is 120-139/80-89 on each of the top and bottom numbers. Hypertension is +140/+90 on each of the numbers.
A couple of quick notes about blood pressure testing: your blood pressure is in a constant state change. Taking blood pressure at one part of the day could be completely different than another part of the day, depending on various events. It is recommended when you take a blood pressure test to do it three times with five minutes in between each time an average of the three. When performing a blood pressure test, be seated, legs uncrossed, and arms straight out. Crossing legs or arms can give different results.
Weight And Causes of High Blood Pressure
There are two factors to look at with weight and blood pressure. The first is that additional weight causes the heart to work harder to pump blood through the cardiovascular system. By increasing the workload also increases stress on the arteries, which has a negative effect. This negative effect is the arteries resisting the increased workload, which, as you can guess, increases blood pressure. Just like anything, too much of something is generally not good overall. The same is true for the cardiovascular system, overwork it, and resistance will build. This is one way of your body saying this is too much and giving hints that something is wrong.
The second factor is individuals at the obesity levels, or overweight groups have an increased fatty tissue level. The higher level of adipose tissue increases vascular resistance, and this increases blood pressure. Fatty tissue is an inhibitor preventing the cardiovascular system from performing at its optimal level. In basic terms, something is there that shouldn’t be there, blocking the system from executing at peak levels. By removing this additional substance frees up the system to perform at an optimal level.
High Blood Pressure Effects on The Body
Elevated blood pressure for long periods can have many effects on the body. This can include heart damage in heart disease, heart failure, brain damage with a stroke, kidney damage or complete loss, and damage to the eyes. Most high blood pressure people do not know they have this condition and find out from other symptoms like those listed. Blood pressure monitors are very inexpensive, starting at around $20, in which this investment can produce such helpful information to your health success. Get ahead of health conditions by regularly monitoring your blood pressure.
Many other factors can contribute to high blood pressure other than weight. These include alcohol consumption, salt and sodium intake, stress, age, and even medications. Both over the counter and prescription medications can increase blood pressure levels. Some of these include pain medications, antidepressants, caffeine, cold medicines, and illegal drugs. Not all of these drugs and any of these classifications will raise blood pressure; however, there is a number in each category that can. For a complete list, check here.
Effects of Weight
Other factors from weight other than blood pressure include risk of heart attack, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, etc. It only makes good sense to reduce excessive weight, and waist circumference as these are leading indicators of potential future issues. A healthy weight is the best answer for blood pressure reduction and other factors that can produce negative results. Remember to take time for your health, or you will have to take time for your illness, and that is not what we want.
The Framington Heart Study conducted over 44 years concluded that 27% of hypertension is exclusively caused by overweight or obesity. When adding in weight and other factors from above, the chances increase exponentially.
According to the national guidelines and research, losing 20 pounds can drop blood pressure by 5-20 points. Take a more in-depth look at this: if an individual has a blood pressure of lets day 140/90. This individual loses 20 pounds. Taking the conservative number of 5 points, this person could now be at 135/85, which is the difference between hypertension and prehypertension. Taking the more aggressive number of 20 points would yield a new blood pressure rate of 120/70, which is the difference between prehypertension and normal blood pressure. In any event, the blood pressure went down to a more acceptable level in this example. There’s also room for the possibility of more weight loss, which would decrease the blood pressure numbers, even more, making them even better.
If you’re wondering if there is an opportunity to lose weight, you must first understand your starting body weight. There are two standard methods for defining overweight and obesity. The body mass index (BMI) is commonly used as an indicator of overweight or obesity. This is a simple height and weight calculation that can be quickly achieved by knowing each of these numbers and looking on a chart. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is listed as overweight, and 30+ is obese. The other standard calculation for weight is body fat percentage. This calculation is a little more involved as it requires weight and skinfold calipers to take measurements at various points on the body. A body fat percentage of 21%-25% is considered overweight, and +25% is obese for men. 31%-33% overweight and +33% are obese for a woman.
Body Mass Index is more of a directional signal, and the body fat percentage is more accurate. Body Mass Index is used more often because it just requires two numbers of height and weight. However, Body Mass Index was developed in the 1830s by a Belgian astronomer who is correct, not a doctor, to ascertain the gravitational pull on Earth by the number of people. Yet, it is still used today as the key indicator of acceptable weight. I strongly recommend using a body fat percentage due to its increased accuracy.
The BMI calculation is set around average height, and once there is a height difference, the formula breaks down. This can be discouraging, and is why I do not recommend using this method. The main goal here is to achieve a knowledge of the potential to lose weight and how much can be lost. If there is an opportunity to lose weight, then a decrease in blood pressure should occur. The more weight lost, the more the blood pressure should drop. This is all beneficial.
Once you have determined if you can lose weight, and most of us do, then it is time to start the weight reduction process. There are many ways to lose weight like diet, intermittent fasting, physical activity, eating a healthy diet, aerobic exercise, dash diet, reduce processed foods, and saturated fats. For more on how to lose weight, please read this article.
Personal experience: I was at a very high blood pressure rate well into the hypertension range when my weight was excessive to 29.5% body fat. Today, my body fat is at 10%, which has allowed my blood pressure to become normal at a 118/68 level. This was all done without the assistance of any blood pressure medication and has remained at this level consistently. I am proof this can be done! You, too, can lose weight and reduce your blood pressure levels to avoid adverse health issues.
There is enough evidence from the medical world and my personal experience to say that losing weight will lower blood pressure and the two are linked. There is no doubt that the increasing number of people using blood pressure medication and the obesity rate increases are correlated. This is why weight matters and should be taken seriously. There are too many other effects from weight, not just blood pressure, that have negative impacts and can be avoided by simply managing a healthy weight.
Do you what to be hooked on blood pressure medications for the rest of your life or not? Only you can answer this question. Remember, maintenance medications like blood pressure can have side-effects which will prompt more medication to offset or just live with the symptoms. Also, these medications have a level of toxins to them and this puts stress on the liver to remove the toxins. When the liver is stressed filtering out toxins it is not doing its normal job in which one of those is weight control. Therefore taking medications like this can lead to weight gain which is the opposite of what should be happening to reduce blood pressure levels. Taking medications like this fixes the symptom, not the root cause. Would it be nice to fix the underlying problem and not take medication? Lose weight and see what happens.