Obesity and Hypertension: Breaking the Deadly Link
Statistics aren’t always boring. There are many statistics about hypertension (high blood pressure) and obesity – and all are (or should be) alarming. Both are major health problems in the United States, and the subject of intense medical research. Increased awareness of the link between obesity and hypertension is leading to new campaigns to educate people to lead healthier lives. While some of the more sobering statistics follow, the optimistic message is that it is possible to take ownership of your health and get the help and motivation you need to reduce – or eliminate – your risk.
The Grim Statistics on Obesity & Hypertension
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults has high blood pressure, a leading cause of stroke. Approximately 30 percent of hypertension cases may be attributable to obesity, and the figure may be as high as 60 percent in men under age 45. People who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats and high LDL (bad cholesterol), which are all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. These disturbing statistics are courtesy of The State of Obesity, a project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Our March, 2018 blog post, Obesity and Heart Disease: How to Lose Weight and Keep Your Heart Healthy, focused on the link between these conditions, and a balanced approach to achieving a healthy weight. The Obesity Action Collation (OAC) includes a study by Jaymee Delaney, MD, which states that people with obesity are more likely to have hypertension. There are 58 to 65 million U.S. adults who have hypertension, which is the most common reason for office visits of non-pregnant adults to their physicians and for the use of prescription drugs.
Dr. Delaney also notes, “… anti-hypertension medications should be started if hypertension is diagnosed. But, with weight loss, a significant fall in blood pressure may permit a decrease in the number of medications taken or decrease the amount of medication taken. Prevention would be better than any drug.”
One example Dr. Delaney mentions is the DASH diet, which was the subject of our April, 2018 blog post. This popular diet was initially developed for people who want to take control of their hypertension. But the diet soon gained traction among dieters, who found it helped them lose weight more effectively.
Need More Help? Try The 10 Day BP Challenge
The DASH diet is one of the more high-profile programs that encourage people to be proactive in preventing or reversing hypertension. But another program with the same goal is gaining an enthusiastic following: the 10 Day BP Challenge.
The challenge originates with the BP Owl website – an online resource of articles on diet, exercise, relaxation and other non-medication ways to manage hypertension. The 10 Day BP Challenge is an app you can download to access a step-by-step program designed to help reduce high blood pressure through diet and lifestyle changes, monitored regularly over a 10-day period via the app. There is a free trial period, after which users must pay to continue the program.
The emphasis on lifestyle is key to reducing blood pressure or keeping it within normal range. So what’s considered normal and high blood pressure? Physicians use the following:
Normal blood pressure: systolic (top number) equal to or less than 120 mmHg and diastolic (lower number) equal to or less than 80 mmHg
Pre-hypertension: systolic 120-139 mmHg or diastolic 80-89 mmHg
Stage 1: systolic 140-159 mmHg or diastolic 90-99 mmHg
Stage 2: systolic greater than or equal to 160 mmHg or diastolic greater than or equal 100 mmHg
While the 10 Day BP Challenge and DASH diet can be helpful programs, you may still want to consider other options. Our experienced physicians at Solutions Weight Loss are here to provide you with an individual, medically supervised plan to help you meet your goals. We also apply advanced weight loss treatments and protocols that are not available over the counter. We welcome you to schedule a consultation to discuss the best program for you.