High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure?

Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. Blood pressure is how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure (hypertension) usually has no symptoms, but it may cause serious problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.

A blood pressure of 120/80 mm Hg (often referred to as “120 over 80”) is considered normal. If the top number (systolic blood pressure) is consistently 140 or higher or the bottom number (diastolic blood pressure) is 90 or higher, you are considered to have high blood pressure.

How is high blood pressure linked to overweight?

High blood pressure is linked to overweight and obesity in several ways. Having a large body size may increase blood pressure because your heart needs to pump harder to supply blood to all your cells. Excess fat may also damage your kidneys, which help regulate blood pressure.

How can weight loss help?

Weight loss that will get you close to the normal BMI range may greatly lower high blood pressure. Other helpful changes are to quit smoking, reduce salt, and get regular physical activity. However, if lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe drugs to lower your blood pressure.

*source: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/health_risks.htm#c