Overweight and obese people are associated with many health problems. Such problems are diabetes, sleep apnea as well as cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure and high blood pressure.
High blood pressure or hypertension is called the condition in which blood pressure is elevated for a long time over normal levels.
It reaches the maximum when the myocardium contracts, known as systolic blood pressure, and when the heart rests for a fraction of a second, between the beats the blood pressure decreases known as diastolic blood pressure.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is a very common phenomenon. A quarter of adults suffer from hypertension and a third of them do not know it. High blood pressure usually does not give signs of early warning and is known as a âsilent killerâ because it increases the risk of heart attack, strokes and kidney problems. According to the available scientific evidence and data, overweight increases the risk of high blood pressure. It is worth mentioning that 60% of patients with high blood pressure are overweight and 20-30%. Essentially, blood pressure increases as our body weight increases.
How weight loss can help you reduce blood pressure?
It has been shown that for every 10% increase in body weight systolic blood pressure increases by 6.5 mm Hg. The cause of the increase in blood pressure in obese people is not fully specified. Perhaps hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, very often found in obesity, are one of the causes of increased blood pressure. Insulin specifically increases sympathetic nervous system activity and renal sodium resorption and appears to affect the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
Obesity is classified into various grades depending on the body mass index. The body mass index is a simple and relatively accurate indicator to estimate the degree of obesity and is calculated from the quotient of body weight in kg by the square of height in meters.
As normal body mass index is considered to be from 18.5 to 24. 9 kg / mÂ², overweight people is considered to have a body mass index of 25 to 29.9 kg / mÂ² and an obese person with a body mass index greater than 30 kg / mÂ². Another simple and reliable indicator to estimate obesity is the waist circumference. A waist circumference greater than 102 cm. for men and 88 cm. for women is considered a pathological condition.
Weight loss has been associated with many studies for hypertension. A recent study showed that for every kg of weight loss, both diastolic and systolic blood pressure is reduced by 0.45 mm Hg. Weight loss can be achieved by adopting a lifestyle that involves changing eating habits and increasing physical activity, with some help of medicines and in more advanced cases with surgery.
Aim for realistic goals in order to lose weight and lower your blood pressure
It is very important to set realistic goals to lose weight and reduce blood pressure. Weight loss of 10% over a six month period is considered a good and achievable goal and greatly reduces the severity of complications of obesity, including arterial hypertension.
A calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories per day, depending on the initial body weight, is enough to lower you weight without causing vitamin and trace deficiency.
The amount of fat consumed should be reduced, as is the excessive consumption of sugar and susceptible carbohydrates. Conversely, fiber consumption should be encouraged.
Drinking alcohol should also be drastically reduced as alcohol consumption not only increases the number of calories you receive but also increases your blood pressure.
It should be stressed that each gram of fat gives 9 calories, each gram of protein and carbohydrate 4 calories, while each gram of alcohol 7 calories. Calories from fat should not exceed 30% of the daily calorie intake, 10% only from saturated fats, and the remaining 20% ââfrom polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Protein calories should be about 15-20%, while calories from carbohydrates 50-55% of the total daily calories. Finally, the diet should contain enough fiber (at least 30 grams) from fruits and vegetables.
Adopting all the above in your daily diet will help you lower your blood pressure in a huge rate.
Studies confirm that weight loss is associated with lower blood pressure.
Many studies have shown the effect of weight loss on lowering blood pressure. The most important is the DASH study.
A multicenter study designed to investigate the effect of certain dietary changes in blood pressure. The study involved 459 patients with systolic blood pressure less than 160 mm. Hg and diastolic between 80 and 95 mm. Hg for whom they did not take antihypertensive therapy.
Initially and for one month all patients received the same diet, which was the typical American diet. They were then divided into three groups. The first group continued the same diet, the second group got a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and the third group got a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, but also dairy low fat, whole grains, poultry and fish, while avoiding red meat. Sodium intake and body weight were maintained at the same levels in all three groups.
The results of DASH Study
After two months in these diets and while there was no change in body weight, there was a change in blood pressure as compared to the group of patients receiving the usual diet, the group taking the diet rich in fruits and vegetables had 2, 8 and 1. 1 mmHg lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively.
The results were even better in the diet group rich in fruits and vegetables and low fat as the reduction in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure was 5. 5 and 3 mm Hg, respectively.
The follow-up of the DASH study was the study where saline intake was reduced in addition to the aforementioned diet.
This study involved 412 patients divided into two main groups. In the first group, nothing changed in the usual diet, while in the second group the patients received the DASH diet and were divided into three subgroups depending on the sodium intake.
At the end of the one-month study, the group of patients who had a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat and received a limited amount of salt, had 11.5 and 5.7 mm. Hg lower systolic and diastolic pressure, compared to the group that was taking the usual diet.
Conclusion about hypertension and weight loss
In conclusion, obese patients have high blood pressure, which is improved by weight loss. Weight loss is achieved by diet and increased physical activity.
If blood pressure is not only regulated by weight loss, then antihypertensive drugs with more appropriate converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor antagonists are also available. In any case, itâs not easy to lose weight, and adopt a healthy diet in your life.
Many people get bored or give up as they do not have encouragement. If you are seriously thinking of losing weight in order to lower your blood pressure you should always ask for the support of your friends and family or even join a weight-loss group.