Can weight loss lower high blood pressure?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes it can in many people. However if you have essential hypertension, meaning they cannot find the cause, weight loss may not help. Generally speaking though, weight loss is always an appropriate way to reduce the risk of hypertension.
Watch as Discovery Health and the Cleveland Clinic present several tips in a handy guide to maintaining a healthy diet while fighting high blood pressure.
How much weight you should lose depends on how much you weigh. However, most people can lower their blood pressure by losing as little as ten pounds. Losing weight makes a difference because the less you weigh, the less blood your body actually needs to keep working. When you gain weight on the other hand, your arteries don't get any bigger but the amount of blood being pushed through them increases causing more pressure on your artery walls.
Grace L. Honles, MD
Family Medicine
A modest weight loss of 5-10 pounds has been shown to reduce the severity of elevated blood pressure, and in mildly hypertensive or pre-hypertensive stages, weight loss can even normalize readings. Shedding excess weight directly reduces the peripheral vascular resistance -- the force against which the heart must pump in order to deliver oxygen rich blood to tissues. Since adipose tissue is highly vascular (in other words, fat has a rich blood supply), maintaining smaller fat stores will benefit other tissues' ability to receive necessary nutrients for growth and cell repair.

Moreover, any weight loss achieved through increased physical activity will also improve overall cardiovascular fitness and cell metabolism. Small losses really do equal big gains in blood pressure management.
Chelsea Dierkes
Nutrition & Dietetics
If you are overweight or obese, then yes, you should lose weight. Obtaining a normal weight will also reduce your risk of developing other chronic diseases and cancer as well.
In most cases, yes. If you are overweight, blood pressure almost always improves with weight loss. Sometimes a person will also have high blood pressure because of genetics, or lifestyle (smoking, poor eating habits, etc.). But in general if one is overweight and has high blood pressure, losing weight is definitely recommended.
Absolutely! Losing as little as 10 to 15 pounds can make a big difference in your blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. For some people, weight loss can prevent hypertension. In addition, losing weight prevents the added strain on the heart which, in turn, decreases the chance of heart attack.

Also, eating a healthier diet, watching your calories, exercising regularly and losing weight may be enough to reduce high blood pressure with or without medication. Most importantly, see your doctor if your blood pressure is high. Your doctor can find the best treatment for high blood pressure that will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
High blood pressure is usually treated with medications and sometimes with dietary changes (sodium restriction can be effective, for example). Before treating with medications, however, weight loss can be an effective strategy. Weight loss does take time, though, and can be difficult for many people, which means as a treatment it's often unsuccessful.
If you are overweight and have high blood pressure, then losing weight is important because it will improve your overall health and mobility. It may also help lower your blood pressure in the long run or prevent you from taking more medications as you get older. However, losing weight is probably not enough to control high blood pressure. Generally, if your blood pressure is high enough to warrant treatment, you will need to take medication to control it.
Marshelya D. Wilson, MD
Family Medicine
Losing weight with or without diet can help lower high blood pressure. Being overweight is linked to increased risk for high blood pressure. Losing even as little as 10 lbs can lower blood pressure. Excercise is recommended to all persons diagnosed with hypertension, especially those with increased body weight.
Ruth Frechman
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes. Having excess weight is a key factor to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and diabetes. Losing weight is only one piece of the puzzle. It's also important to get daily physical activity and follow the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet to lower blood pressure. And don't forget to be happy. Stress can increase blood pressure. 

Obese individuals are twice as likely to have hypertension or high blood pressure. Losing as few as 10 pounds can reduce blood pressure and may prevent high blood pressure in overweight individuals, even if they haven't yet reached a healthy weight. Additional weight loss could lower your blood pressure further.

Ozgen Dogan
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Losing weight certainly helps reduce high blood pressure. Your blood pressure will go down one point for every pound you lose. The more pounds you drop, the lower your blood pressure will fall.
Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

As a healthcare/Sharecare expert I can tell you that losing weight will help you lower your blood pressure. Losing as much as only 10 pounds can make a difference. Getting to your ideal body weight will lessen the strain on your heart and may make medications for blood pressure treatment no longer indicated.

With that said I will speak to you as the patient. Blood pressure is a silent killer. The damage is occurring while we silently go about our lives working hard and experiencing no symptoms. If you are overweight and not having your blood pressure checked on a regular basis your are essentially burying your head in the sand to not hear the inevitable truth...that sooner or later you may become hypertensive, diabetic, and have coronary artery disease. How do I know this? I know this because this was me...I was too busy taking care of everyone else to take care of myself. Till one day the infamous truth tube got ahold of me on the Dr. Oz show and told me my blood pressure was 165/110 and my weight was 214. Today I am 86 pounds lighter and my blood pressure is now 110/60 on no meds...

If this is YOU, make a commitment to take care of yourself, lose the weight and make an investment in your future. YOU can't take care of anyone if you are not around when they need you. Love and put yourself first.

Daniel R. Spogen, MD
Family Medicine
Weight loss can lower blood pressure.  Some studies show that a 10% weight reduction will result in a normal blood pressure for 90% of our patients.  The DASH diet is a diet that is low in salt and fat and is the first thing your physician should put you on prior to considering medication for essential hypertension, assuming your blood pressure is not too high.
Darin K. Winn, MD
Family Medicine

Absolutely. Weight loss, exercise, and proper diet are all good ways to help bring down your blood pressure. I encourage all of my patients to start by walking for 10-15 minutes per day. Slowly increase the duration and speed of the walk over time as able. 

Thomas E. Pryor, MD
Family Medicine
The simple answer is yes. Losing weight does lower your blood pressure but you may still need medication to keep your pressure in the normal zone even after you achieve a normal weight. Recent research suggests that visceral adiposity or belly fat may act like an endocrine organ releasing chemicals that both increase your blood pressure and cause resistance to insulin which can lead to diabetes. By reducing our belly fat we may lower our blood pressure and reduce our risk of developing diabetes.
Weight loss is very effective at lowering blood pressure. In fact, a loss of just 10 - 20 pounds can sometimes be all it takes to get your blood pressure back in the normal range with medications.
Sasson E. Moulavi, MD
General Practice

Yes, I treat obesity at the smart for life center in Boca Raton. I regularly take patients off blood pressure medication because as they lose weight they have a great reduction in blood pressure. Typically they need to lose at least 10% of body weight to see a difference. Many complain of being light headed thinking its the diet, but when I give them the good news that its probably their BP meds being too strong now that they lost weight and they need to reduce them, they are real happy. Never stop any medication without talking to your doctor. 

Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
A 10-pound weight loss can reduce and prevent high blood pressure in many overweight people.
Sreeram Gonnalagadda, MD
Family Medicine
Yes, definitely, not only evidence based but also personal experience. My patients, who have had bariatric surgery, usually get off BP meds since their pressure is better after losing weight.
Same thing with sugar control, joint aches and energy level.
Yes, weight loss can lower high blood pressure. The amount that weight loss will lower high blood pressure varies from person to person, however. Some people may find that weight loss of even 5-10 pounds may bring their blood pressure to a normal level and eliminate the need for medication to treat their high blood pressure. Others may still require some medication to control their high blood pressure. Regardless of how much it impacts high blood pressure, healthy weight loss is reasonable step to take as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Kevin J. Soden, MD
Family Medicine
There are many factors that contribute to a person's high blood pressure. Some are genetic while others like weight contribute to raising your blood pressure. One of the reasons that healthcare providers recommend exercise and good diet as key components of anyone's initial plan to lower blood pressure is that they help a person to lose weight. Weight loss may not always result in a lower pressure but it sure can't hurt...and it's essential to your overall help.
Alan Gaby
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes. People with high blood pressure who are overweight frequently find that their blood pressure falls when they lose weight.
High blood pressure and excess body weight (obesity) are related. Hypertension is much more common in people who are overweight. People who gain weight may notice that their blood pressure suddenly becomes higher. The reasons for this are not known, but it is important that if you are overweight you try to reduce.

Many people find that when they lose weight, their blood pressure becomes normal. This is one way to treat hypertension without medication.

The bottom line on weight loss, is to lose weight you must take in fewer calories than you use in your daily activity.  Ask your doctor about an ideal weight for you and talk about healthy diet and exercise choices you can make to lose weight and also lower your blood pressure. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.