blood pressure risk

Obesity and Blood Pressure

Obesity, Excess Weight and Blood Pressure

Obesity, especially central obesity, is an important risk factor for high blood pressure. The prevalence of hypertension increases with the degree of obesity.

Obesity Doubles Risk of High Blood Pressure

Being obese more than doubles the risk of developing raised blood pressure (hypertension). Obesity research indicates that about 70 percent of obese men and women suffer from hypertension.

  • The prevalence of hypertension in adults who are not overweight (body mass index <25) is 14.9 percent for men and 15.2 percent for women. In contrast, the prevalence of raised blood pressure levels in adults who are obese (body mass index > 30) is 41.9 percent for men and 37.8 percent for women. The prevalence of hypertension increases with the degree of obesity. 
  • If you are 20 percent overweight (obese), you are eight times more likely to suffer from high blood pressure than someone of normal weight.

Weight Loss Reduces Blood Pressure

Fortunately, even if your blood pressure is high, a modest weight loss can bring it under control. Blood pressure can drop with every pound lost. In many cases people on high blood pressure medication have been able to reduce the dose or stop taking it altogether after losing 5-10 percent of their body weight. For a person weighing 170 pounds this represents a weight loss of 8-17 pounds.