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Do I have a greater chance of hypertension if I am obese?

Dr. Craig B. Primack, MD
General Practitioner

Yes, there is a strong correlation between hypertension (high blood pressure) and weight. As we learn more about our fat stores, we find that they have an abundance of hormones that are secreted and send signals throughout our bodies. As our fat cells fill up with excess energy, some of these hormones trigger adaptive responses that cause our blood pressure to rise.

It is important to remember that even 5-10% weight loss will greatly decrease the risk of having high blood pressure or even having to take medications for it.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

People who are obese have an increased risk of developing hypertension, also called high blood pressure. In fact, hypertension is thought to be the most common health complication associated with obesity. Although several theories exist, scientists aren't sure why obesity and hypertension are so closely linked. This much is known: Fewer than one-third of obese people with hypertension have their blood pressure under control. Losing weight, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and taking proper medication can control blood pressure. Whether or not you're obese, it's important to have your blood pressure checked on a routine basis.

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Yes, obesity and hypertension are strongly linked. In fact, high blood pressure is twice as common in obese adults than in adults who maintain a healthy weight. Not only can high blood pressure damage the blood vessels throughout the body, but hypertension leads to heart attacks.

High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should and increases stress on the heart muscle and arteries, setting them up for possible injury. The effects of hypertension are serious and include an increased risk of stroke and a decline in cognitive function.

Over time, if blood pressure remains high and untreated, the heart muscle can no longer compensate. This results in an enlarged and weakened heart.  At this point, you may get shortness of breath with physical activity and exercise. Sometimes this noticeable symptom sends people to the doctor where they are diagnosed with hypertension or heart disease.

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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.