Obesity has been considered to be one of the primary causes of hypertension for a very long time. One of the major lifestyle changes brought into question by doctors who diagnose their patients with hypertension is a strict diet, which decreases the levels of fat, sodium, and sugar from the body, but also helps patients lose a few pounds.
How healthy is your body mass index?
Decades ago, obesity was considered to be a question of beauty, but now it is known to be a leading cause of mortality and something that affects a person’s health on many different levels. The BMI (body mass index) is a measurement which can be calculated by dividing a person’s weight and the square of their height. Once a person's BMI is calculated, it can give out information related to how normal their weight level is:
- A BMI which is lower than 18.5 indicates that the person is underweight.
- The best BMI interval is 18.5 to 24.9.
- People with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered to be overweight.
- A BMI that varies between 30.0 and 34.9 is an indicator of class I obesity.
- Class II obesity includes people with a BMI between 35.0 and 39.0.
- Any person with a BMI of over 40.0 is considered class II obese, and poses a great morbidity risk.
People with a really high BMI will sometimes find it difficult to lose weight just through diet and exercise. They will need to undergo medically-supervised weight loss programs.
Obesity and hypertension
Different studies which have focused on the link between obesity and hypertension have yet to fully explain how the two factors influence each other. Normally, obesity precedes hypertension, as people who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure will be on a strict diet, and shouldn’t be exposed to the risk of gaining any extra pounds.
Research was able to show that both obesity and hypertension have an impact on the sympathetic nervous system. The human body has diuresis and natriuresis mechanisms which are caused by arterial pressure, all of which can lead to hypertension in people who are obese.
Extra pounds can also lead to a series of other problems which have hypertension as the ultimate pit stop. For example, people who are obese are more likely to develop a resistance to insulin, which can also contribute to an elevated blood pressure.
Preventing hypertension caused by obesity
Obesity is caused by two major factors: the lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits, both of which are underlined by doctors that diagnose a person with hypertension. Most of the food and ingredients that can elevate a person’s blood pressure are also considered a threat to one’s weight, such as sugar, alcohol, or processed foods.
You can still consume dairy, provided it’s low or non-fat. You can also eat meat, but try to switch to lower serving of meat which is cooked healthy (and not deep fried in oil). Fish and poultry are the best options.
Snacks can be replaced with healthy servings of nuts and legumes, as long as you pay attention to the caloric intake consumed with such portions. Alongside your doctor, the internet can also provide very detailed and valuable information on what are the best dietary recommendations for people who suffer from hypertension.
Most of the diets suggested for this condition will also treat obesity and help people lose weight, because they are primarily focused on eating healthy, particularly by eliminating large sugar and salt intakes. In other words: if you rigorously follow a diet meant to reduce blood pressure, you are extremely likely to lose pounds in the process.
Treating hypertension caused by obesity
Keeping hypertension under control while being obese is almost impossible. The premise is that obesity needs to be treated in order for blood pressure levels to return to normal. In order to do so, doctors will advise hypertensive obese patients to change their diet, as well as perform physical exercises to help them lose the extra weight.
Doctors will most likely also prescribe a medical treatment for keeping blood pressure under control until the weight goal is achieved. In some severe cases, doctors may need to perform surgery to treat highly advanced stages of obesity-induced hypertension.
Patients who are diagnosed with hypertension due to obesity will also undergo treatment to reduce the risk of permanent organ damage. Hypertension is known for affecting the lungs, the eyes, the heart, and the brain.
Both obesity and hypertension are slowly becoming a worldwide threat to the average person’s health. A healthy diet will both lower blood pressure and lead to weight loss. However, doctors may also recommend medication, personalized weight loss programs and plans, as well as surgery for patients that fall in the higher obesity classes.