Hypertension & obesity: Are they related?

Overweight and obesity are established risk factors for hypertension, and hypertension is approximately twice as prevalent in the obese than in the non obese.


  • Obesity is traditionally defined as a weight ≥20% above the ideal weight
  • Hypertension, a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure is persistently at or >140/90 mmHg but not at the normal level which is defined as 100–140 and 60–90 mmHg for systolic and diastolic pressure, respectively.According to current American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines 130/80 mmhg is value the detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure which can be prevented by lifestyle changes at a very early stage.


Obesity can result in serious health issues that are potentially life threatening, including hypertension, type II diabetes mellitus, increased risk for coronary disease, hyperlipidemia, infertility.  Although the relationship between obesity and hypertension is well established in children and adults, the mechanism by which obesity directly causes hypertension has various theories

Obesity leads to obstructive sleep apnoea which in turn leads to hypertension. Similarly obesity is responsible for diabetes which in turn is a risk for hypertension.

According to the population studies, it has been indicated that almost two-thirds of the people suffering from obesity are at risk of hypertension.


Effects of weight loss on blood pressure-

Weight loss has several benefits when it comes to prevention of complications like hypertension,cardiac complications,hyperlipidemia and diabetes.


The approach to reduce blood pressure in obese is by weight management.


  • The Framingham Heart Study revealed that a 5% weight gain increases hypertension risk by 30% in a 4-year time period. However a similar weight loss reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. A modest weight loss can normalize blood pressure levels even without reaching ideal weight.
  • The treatment of obesity itself requires guidelines suggesting lifestyle modifications aiming to reduce body weight, so consuming a low-caloric diet with a total of 500–1,500 or 500–1,200 calories for men or women, respectively will thereby lower the blood pressure.
  • This may include lower intake of saturated fats and cholesterol.
  • Increased consumption of water, fruits, fresh and raw vegetables, fish, lean meats, whole grain.
  • Moderate and constant physical activity as well as adequate night sleep. The aim of these habits and activities involve the increase and strengthening of muscular mass vs. decreasing fat mass.
  • Lower sodium intake to 3-5mg/day.
  • Cessation of smoking.
  • Cutting down on alcohol.
  • Stress management.


Hypertension is one of the most common obesity‐related complications, and about 30% of hypertensive individuals can be classified as being obese.Management of weight is the first step in reducing the blood pressure levels and prevent further complications of obesity and hypertension.


-Dr Prerna Gaur







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