Understanding High Blood PressurePosted: July 2, 2015 in Obesity Medicine by Craig Primack MD FACP
In every moment that passes your blood pressure is changing. It adjusts up and down to accommodate for changes in your stress level, exercise endeavors, sleep and even your posture. Your blood pressure measures how much resistance to blood flow is present in the arteries in relation to the amount of blood that your heart is pumping. The more resistance there is, the harder your heart has to work to push blood throughout the body.
Living with obesity increases your risk of developing a wide range of health problems, including issues from mental health obstacles all the way to chronic health hazards like diabetes and heart disease. Hypertension is an obesity related disease that is marked by an increase in blood pressure. While not directly hazardous on its own, high blood pressure will further increase your risk for potential health concerns, including strokes and heart attacks. If you are overweight and have found out you have high blood pressure, medical weight loss is highly recommended as a tool to improve health.
Blood Pressure: By the Numbers
Chances are that you’ve had your blood pressure measured before. This is what your doctor is looking for with that arm band that gets real tight around your bicep. A blood pressure test will produce two numbers, and together these produce a fairly comprehensive measurement of what is going on between your veins and your heart.
The top number is your systolic blood pressure, which indicates how much pressure is in the arteries when the heart beats. This is going to be the longer of the two numbers and is usually written on top. The bottom number shows your diastolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats, or when the heart is resting.
A healthy blood pressure range will be anything below 120 / 80. This means that your systolic blood pressure is 120 or below, and your diastolic blood pressure is 80 or below. 120 mm during heart beats, and 80 mm at rest. If you are in that ballpark, then you are doing well. If your blood pressure goes over either of these numbers, then you might be at risk for high blood pressure.
For many people, high blood pressure does not have any symptoms of its own, but it does put you at risk for a number of serious medical conditions including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Metabolic syndrome
High blood pressure is considered an obesity related disease because of the pressure that added weight on the body puts on the heart. For this reason, losing weight is considered one of the best practices in treating hypertension. If you find that you have high blood pressure, it is recommended that you speak to your weight loss doctor about additional treatment options and any recommended practices with diet and exercise.