The Link Between Your Weight and Your Blood Pressure

The Link Between Your Weight and Your Blood Pressure

Americans are no strangers to high blood pressure. Nearly half of adults have hypertension and, more concerning still, only one quarter of them have the condition under control.

Having untreated high blood pressure places you at far greater risk for serious cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke. The good news is that these consequences are highly preventable if you take the steps necessary to improve your heart health, starting with lowering your blood pressure.

To help you get started, Farhad Aduli, MD, FACC, and the rest of the team here at Louisiana Heart and Vascular want to focus on the role weight plays when it comes to your blood pressure and why a little weight loss can go a long way toward lowering your numbers.

Understanding blood pressure

While having your blood pressure measured has become routine — almost every medical office starts with a blood pressure check — it’s helpful to truly understand what these numbers mean.

Your blood pressure reading contains two measurements: the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the top number, and it shows how much pressure your blood places on the walls of your blood vessels during a heartbeat. Your diastolic number is the bottom number, and it shows how much pressure your blood places on the walls of your blood vessels between heartbeats.

A good systolic blood pressure range is 90 mm Hg to 120 mm Hg. A good diastolic blood pressure range is 60 mm Hg to 80 mm Hg.

If these numbers are higher, say 140/90, this means your blood is applying too much pressure to your blood vessels, which can weaken and damage them over time.

Blood pressure and your weight

There are three major factors that can greatly influence your blood pressure numbers:

  1. Your weight
  2. Your diet
  3. The amount you exercise

When you carry extra weight, you force your heart to work harder to circulate your blood. Due to the more sluggish circulation, plaque can build up in your arteries, which can lead to blockages — a condition called atherosclerosis. These blockages, in turn, can increase your blood pressure, because your blood needs to be forced through narrowing vessels.

Lowering your blood pressure

A good way to lower your blood pressure is to lose weight by eating a better diet and exercising. If this sounds daunting, it shouldn’t! You don’t have to make drastic changes all at once. In fact, the CDC reports that losing just 5-10% of your overall body weight can reduce your blood pressure numbers.

Take some simple steps, such as reducing your consumption of fatty foods and incorporating more vegetables and whole grains. Furthermore, reducing your salt intake can help your blood flow more freely.

To help you lose weight and to improve your cardiovascular health, try exercising for at least 30 minutes for five days a week. It doesn't have to be strenuous — a walk around the park or neighborhood is a great place to start. And, when you get used to that, you can make it a brisk walk. The idea is to get moving as much as possible.

If you want to lower your blood pressure and lose weight, we can help you. We can give you a thorough evaluation and design a plan that works with your lifestyle and unique health goals. To get started, call 985-231-5713 or book an appointment online with Louisiana Heart and Vascular today. We’re located in Covington, Louisiana, and we also serve patients from Mandeville and Slidell.

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