Obesity and hypertension have such a close relationship that some people have a word for it: obesity hypertension. We’ve all heard that obesity and hypertension are linked, but how are they linked. Let’s take a look at what hypertension and obesity really are and how they affect each other
What is Hypertension?
The word hypertension is merely a fancy word for high blood pressure. If you are under the age of 65 and your blood pressure is higher than 135/85, you are considered to suffer from hypertension. For those over 65, high blood pressure is sometimes considered normal, so these numbers would have to be higher to be considered hypertension. Now, while hypertension is not harmful by itself, it can lead to more dangerous conditions, such as cardiovascular disease
Risk Factors for Hypertension
- Stress level
- A diet heavy in sodium
- Alcohol use
What is Obesity?
Obesity is the collection of body fat, called adipose tissue. There are a number of factors that can contribute to obesity. These factors include:
- Society and culture
- Lack of exercise
- High calorie nutrition
The Link between Obesity and Hypertension?
Research shows us that obesity is a cause of hypertension. Experts do not know the exact reason for this link, but there are several theories about it. The buildup of adipose tissue causes stress to both the kidney and the sympathetic nervous system. The effect on both of these systems increases sodium reabsorption, which leads to hypertension. Furthermore, The effect of adipose tissue on the kidney can also lead to end-stage renal disease, which itself leads to further hypertension.
The effect of adipose tissue on the sympathetic nervous system can have even more consequences. The sympathetic nervous system is normally only activated during stressful situations. Over-activation of this system can lead to both hypertension and obesity. Cells suffering from sympathetic nervous system can develop insulin resistance. This resistance causes the cells to refuse to accept glucose or use it as a source of energy. This causes the body to contain both extra insulin and glucose, which leads to deviations in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. This leads to a downward spiral of fat accumulation and high blood pressure.
How to Fight It
Losing weight is the best way to fight both of these conditions. An exercise that can help you do this is walking. Walking is one of the easiest and safest ways to lose weight. It increases your metabolism and helps you burn more calories.
Other things that can help you fight obesity and hypertension are:
- Reduce sodium in your diet
- Consume less alcohol and caffeine
- Reduce stress
- Quit smoking, if you are a smoker
- Don’t eat within 3 hours of sleep
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day
- Replace saturated fat with healthier unsaturated fat
Forewarned is forearmed, and now that you are educated about the link between obesity and hypertension, you can help fight these conditions before they turn into more deadly conditions.