Is there a connection between weight and high blood pressure?

You must have often heard that being overweight increases your risk of high blood pressure. And, if you are wondering what makes it so, then its time to know the facts.

BMI

In order to know how fit you are the first step is to determine your body mass index (BMI). This indicator recommended by WHO helps you know whether you are at a healthy weight or not. It is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. You can find many online calculators to help you know what your BMI is.

Know Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. When your heart is beating & pumping blood, your blood pressure is the highest. This numeric is called systolic pressure. In between beats, when your heart is at rest, your blood pressure falls. This numeric is called diastolic pressure.

Your blood pressure reading uses both these numbers. The systolic number comes above the diastolic number. (Eg. 120/80 is normal BP)

Blood Pressure Category Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
  Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120 And less than 80
Prehypertension 120-139 Or 80-89
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140 – 159 Or 90 – 99
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher Or 100 or higher

 

Your blood pressure doesn’t stay the same all the time. It drops while you sleep and increases when you are awake. It also rises when you’re excited or nervous. Under normal conditions, if the numbers stay above normal, you’re at risk for health problems.

How Overweight Increases the Risk of High Blood Pressure

Being overweight and/or obese is a major risk factor leading to high blood pressure. Increased body weight means more pressure required to move the blood around the body.  Thus the pressure on the inner walls of the arteries increases. Also as abdominal fat increases, the arteries are likely to become thick and stiff. This makes it harder to push the blood through the blood vessels.

However, the good news is that even when you lose weight in small amounts the blood vessels become less stiff and your blood pressure can go down.

Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure

While also focusing on losing weight, there are some other habits you need to inculcate to maintain a healthy blood pressure. They include –

  • A healthy diet that has fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Lower sodium intake
  • Regular exercise
  • Stress management
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake

Have you ever tried any weight loss programs? Do share with us your experience.

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