Research shows a link between weight gain and high blood pressure.1 Losing as little as 10 pounds, however, could lower your blood pressure. In fact, it is the most effective way to reduce hypertension in those who are overweight.1 Understanding this connection might help you feel motivated to lose weight through a focused diet plan or bariatric surgery in Houston.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Losing weight can be a challenge, but the benefits can be life-changing. Let’s look into how weight loss reduces hypertension and improves overall wellness, along with some ways to reach your weight loss goals.
What Is Hypertension?
Blood pressure is a measurement of how forcefully the blood is pushing against the interior walls of your arteries. It rises and falls in response to many factors throughout the day. Your blood pressure might test high once if you are stressed or in pain, but it should be lower when you are at rest. Hypertension is the medical term describing high blood pressure that stays elevated.
This elevated pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, and it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and even blindness.1 So it does make sense to take some action to lower your blood pressure if you have hypertension. Losing weight is one of the best ways to relieve high blood pressure, but there are also other strategies that can work together to treat hypertension.
High Blood Pressure Readings
How high is too high for a blood pressure measurement? Typically 140/90 mmHg is considered too high. Readings over 120/80 mmHg indicate prehypertension, which suggests you might develop hypertension in the future unless you make lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure now.
Does Weight Gain Cause High Blood Pressure?
It has been shown that gaining 5-10 pounds causes a significant increase in blood pressure, especially if that gain is belly fat.2 Scientists have theories as to why abdominal fat raises blood pressure more than other kinds of body fat, but more research is needed. Belly fat may be metabolized differently.
While gaining less than 15 pounds is a common problem around holidays or vacations, and it didn’t raise cholesterol or insulin levels for the study participants, the rise in blood pressure is concerning. When even five pounds causes an increase, deciding to lose weight may be the best strategy for the one in three Americans who have high blood pressure.2
Lowering Your Blood Pressure and Reducing Hypertension
Your doctor and medical team will provide the best individualized advice and care to help you lower your blood pressure. The plan you create together will likely feature many of the factors listed here, possibly including weight loss surgery if this will benefit your condition.
If you have a high BMI and waist measurement, your doctor will want to help you start a weight loss plan. Having hypertension, prehypertension, or a family history of heart disease will make it even more important to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Approximately 70% of Americans are classified as overweight,1 so most of us will have weight loss as a goal when treating hypertension. Depending on how much you have to lose, discussing gastric sleeve surgery with your doctor might offer an effective way to lose a pound to two pounds per week as recommended.
Most successful diet plans recommend small serving sizes of healthy foods with high nutritional value, which aligns perfectly with the after gastric surgery diet our Houston patients follow. No matter which weight loss option you choose, losing weight will help lower your blood pressure.
Lessen Your Salt Load
Sodium is part of the salt molecule, and too much sodium can cause blood pressure to rise in some people. Cutting down on salt seems to stop rising blood pressure levels, although responses to sodium are highly individual and salt may not be a problem for some.
If your doctor recommends it, work toward eating less than 2300 mg of sodium per day, by choosing sodium-free, unsalted, or naturally low-sodium foods. If you habitually add salt at the table, putting a piece of tape over half of the shaker head will help you remember to use less. Shaking your table salt into a measuring spoon first will also give you an idea of how much sodium you are adding.
Start a Pleasant Daily Exercise Plan
If you’ve always been physically active, keep up the good work! However, if, like most of us, you don’t follow a regular exercise plan, now is the time to make a change. Light exercise is recommended shortly after weight loss surgery, and most people can start walking or gentle swimming today with their doctor’s approval.
Exercise not only helps burn calories, but aerobic exercise also strengthens the heart and helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Work your way up to 30 minutes of daily physical activity you enjoy—like jogging, biking, dancing, or interval training. Exercise makes you feel better, both physically and mentally, make sure you ask your doctor of what is the best exercise for you.
Smoking a cigarette increases your blood pressure immediately, and the effect lasts for a period of time after you finish. Smoking, in general, increases your risk of heart disease, and many other major health conditions, so there’s never been a better time to use some of the stop-smoking methods to break this addiction.
Soothe Your Stress
It is still unclear exactly how much mental stress contributes to high blood pressure, but how we react to that stress is clearly a factor. Finding a way to recover from stress and relax fully will help your blood pressure stays as low as possible.
While we can’t eliminate all stress, exercising, meditating, yoga, martial arts, relaxing outdoors, or creative crafts can all help bring you back to your strong, calm, and resilient self. Following procedures like gastric sleeve surgery or other weight loss procedures, getting the rest you need speeds healing and restores a positive attitude.
Monitor Progress and Follow Up with Your Doctor
You can check your own blood pressure at home using a home monitoring device. These are readily available at places that carry medical supplies. Your doctor can write you a prescription for the equipment you need, which may save you some money, as insurance often covers medically necessary monitoring devices.
Even if (or especially if) you are not seeing results from your efforts to lower your blood pressure, follow up with your health care team. Hypertension is a chronic condition and, like diabetes or asthma, more and different treatments may be needed over time. In almost every case, however, controlling your weight will be an important part of maintaining healthy blood pressure.
If You Are Struggling to Lose Weight
Of those 70% of Americans who are overweight, many have tried very hard to reach their weight loss goals, but struggle to stay on a diet or lose very little weight after the first few weeks. Being diagnosed with hypertension may be the catalyst that opens the doors to other more advanced weight loss programs.
By working with our compassionate and skilled team at Bariatric Care Centers, you gain access to the latest advances in weight loss technology with the supportive aftercare and guidance you need. Bariatric surgery in Houston includes procedures like a sleeve gastrectomy, which will limit portion size while allowing you to feel full and satisfied while you lose weight.
Schedule a consultation today for a complete weight loss program that will monitor your progress, assess your nutrient intake, adjust diet and exercise recommendations, and work with you at every step to achieve the healthy heart and body that fuel a future of wellness and vitality.
Disclaimer: This is only for general information. All patients should consult their doctors prior to following any of the recommendations in any articles, posts, infographics, or videos. All patients have individual needs and limitations of which only their treating physicians can be fully aware.