Hypertension And Obesity



Hypertension and obesity have a very close association that is scientifically proven. hypertension is a medical term for high blood pressure. It refers to elevated blood pressure above normal or what is considered ideal blood pressure. There are three known and agreed stages of hypertension as it develops in an individual.

These stages are prehypertension, hypertension stage 1 and hypertension stage 2. Up to 95 percent of all hypertension sufferers suffer from primary hypertension whose causes are not known. The remaining 5 to 10 percent of sufferers have secondary hypertension whose causes are known such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease. Renovascular hypertension is a good example of secondary high blood pressure.

On the other hand, obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. It is a growing problem especially in western economies with as much as a 400 percent growth in the last two and half decades in England alone. The problem is also on the raise rapidly in America and obesity is thought to soon surpass smoking as a major killer in America. Medical practitioners use a body mass index (BMI) formula based on a person's height and weight to determine if one is obese. Hypertension and obesity have in fact a direct link. In fact hypertension specialists have since identified being overweight or obese as important factors leading to the development of high blood pressure.

The link between hypertension and obesity steams from the fact that individuals who are overweight have a high risk of developing high blood pressure. As body mass increases it has been proven that the strain on the heart increases. The heart works harder to pump more blood increasing the volume in the blood stream. This in turn raises blood pressure.

Secondly it follows that individuals who are obese have high cholesterol levels. This creates plaque in the lining of the arteries which can lead to high blood pressure when blood flow is constricted. Blood pressure is defined as the force with which blood hits against the vessels walls. It is a function of blood volume and dilation or constriction of blood vessel walls. The link between hypertension and obesity also relates to certain factors in obese individuals that leads to high blood pressure apart from those stated above.

Doctors note that obese individuals have adipocytes also known as lipocytes or more commonly as fat cells. Not only do fat cells or lipocytes store energy they are also known to secrete a host of factors that interact amongst themselves ending in elevated blood pressure. Doctors note the role of leptin in the causation of high blood pressure. Leptin a hormone that has a central role in fat metabolism is thought to induce an activation of the sympathetic nervous system and a direct effect on the kidneys. This results in increased sodium re-absorption leading to hypertension.

The association between salt and high blood pressure is well documented. Most salts including table salt contain sodium which has the effect of retaining water in the bloodstream raising blood pressure. This observation by doctors makes the association between hypertension and obesity clearer. Further, doctors also caution that just being obese may have structured effects on the kidneys. This alone can perpetuate high blood pressure. Kidneys are sensitive and often lead to hypertension if disturbed. This is even illustrated through pulmonary hypertension prognosis.

Obesity specialists note that the distribution of body fat is considered important in the genesis of obesity-hypertension syndrome. As part of hypertension treatment therapy, doctors encourage dietary changes as taking on a hypertension diet, exercise and general weight loss. Weight loss is apparently key in the control and management of hypertension and obesity. Due to the fact that more and more people are becoming obese, obesity-hypertension syndrome will increasingly become common.

Not only does obesity lead to high blood pressure, it also is responsible for other serious ailments such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, osteoarthritis, back pain and even psychological damage.


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