Ask the Experts: How Does My Weight Affect My Blood Pressure?
Q. My doctor has told me to lose weight because I have high blood pressure. What is the effect of weight on blood pressure?
A: High blood pressure is a major contributor to most chronic diseases. Heart disease and stroke are the #1 and #3 causes of death in the U.S., accounting for more than one third of all deaths annually. High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because most people can’t “feel” high blood pressure.
There is a definite relationship between high blood pressure and being overweight or obese. Studies have routinely shown that high blood pressure is about twice as prevalent in obese men and women.
The relationship between weight and blood pressure is important because losing weight may lead to a significant lowering of pressure. Research indicates that people who consume a weight loss diet (low in fat, high in fiber) decrease their blood pressure by 3 to 6 points. Lowering your blood pressure by losing weight may help you avoid taking medications.