High blood pressure is a major global health issue. In the United States alone, over 50 million persons are thought to be affected by the scourge. It often starts gradually and if not treated in good time, high BP can go on to become a life-altering health condition-ultimately leading to death. Your blood pressure is categorized as high if the systolic pressure reading (the lower indicator) is 140 or above, or if the diastolic pressure reading (the upper indicator) is 90 or higher.
The higher the reading goes above these two thresholds, the more severe the problem is. Several factors have been implicated in the onset of high BP, ranging from diets, lifestyle, and weight to genetic predispositions.
We’ll limit our discussion in this article to the role that weight plays in high blood pressure. There is a general consensus among physicians and dietitians that being overweight or being obese greatly increases a person’s chances of developing high blood pressure. These two conditions also worsen it in the case of those who already have it. Of course, this is the same thing as saying that controlling your weight or working to reduce same is one of the surest weapons against high blood pressure.
But who is an overweight person, and what makes a person obese? These two conditions are determined by calculating a person’s Body Mass Index. A person is termed overweight if their body mass is greater than 25. A person having a reading of 30 and over is categorized as obese. Both the obese and the overweight person need to do something about their high reading if they hope to avoid a host of health challenges that come with extra weight.
Generally, the more weight a person loses, the lower their blood pressure. Additionally, losing extra weight has also been found to increase the effectiveness of whatever other methods a person employs to combat this problem. Besides constantly watching your overall weight, you should pay particular attention to your waistline.
No doubt your physician is in the best position to prescribe what should be your ideal waistline after taking your readings and other health statistics into consideration. But as a general rule of the thumb, a Caucasian male should target a waistline below 40 inches. Anything higher than that is known to predispose a person to high blood pressure. By the same token, a Caucasian female should target a waistline of 35 and below.
I admit that this health problem can and at times are controlled with synthetic drugs. However, anti-hypertensive medications are known to be discriminatory-they don’t work well for everyone. And even if you don’t mind the costs (which is often high), these drugs are also known to produce adverse side-effects that impair quality of life and thus reduce adherence to the prescriptions.
Moreover, certain health abnormalities associated with this health problem, such as insulin resistance and hyperlipidaemia, may persist or may even be worsened by certain anti-hypertensive medications. Thus, there is now a great deal of interest in the application of behavioral interventions in the prevention and management of high blood pressure.
Even in the case of persons suffering from acute cases, experts still suggest that once the readings have been reduced to manageable levels, it’s often best to withdraw medications and introduce series of lifestyle changes, notably weight loss programs and dietary changes.
The correlation between extra weight and high blood pressure is real. Watching your weight is therefore one of the best steps you could take towards keeping your BP pressure reading at comfortable levels.