High blood pressure treatment: The simple solution to high blood pressure27/09/2021
High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means your blood has to work harder to pump blood around the body. This can lead to life-threatening heart and circulatory diseases, cause kidney failure or heart failure and even lead to sight problems or vascular dementia. Most people develop high blood pressure because of their diet, lifestyle or medical condition, and there’s one obvious thing you can do to solve the problem if you’re overweight. Express.co.uk chatted to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy to find out why weight loss lowers blood pressure.
About 50 percent of heart attacks and strokes are associated with high blood pressure.
Lowering your blood pressure is important to improve the health of your heart and kidneys, increase your chances of living a long life, and improve your quality of life.
Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for high blood pressure, and losing weight can lead to a healthy drop in your blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, take the need to lose weight seriously and don’t dismiss it.
Dr Lee said: “Obesity has direct physiological effects on your body which lead to elevation of blood pressure.
“Losing weight directly reverses many of these mechanisms, resulting in significant health benefits.
“There are so many good reasons to shed those pounds, and even a relatively small weight loss can have significant long term health benefits.
“Losing weight is perfectly possible and there is a lot of support available.
“You can change your life by making the commitment to do it, and even be able to stop your blood pressure medication.”
Many studies have confirmed that losing weight results in a reduction of blood pressure.
A Cochrane meta-analysis of 18 studies concluded that losing between three percent and nine percent of body weight results in a reduction of 3mm Hg of both systolic ad diastolic blood pressure.
In the Trials of Hypertension Phase 1 study (2000), 181 men and women aged 30 to 54 were randomised to one of two groups – either a weight loss, or sodium restriction group, or a usual care group – for 18 months.
Dr Lee said: “Overall weight loss reduced the risk of high blood pressure by 77 percent.
“After seven years the incidence of high blood pressure was 18.9 percent in the weight loss group, compared to 40.5 percent in the control group, and 22.4 percent in the sodium restriction group compared to 32.9 percent in the controls.”
Bariatric surgery also has been shown to have impressive results in lowering blood pressure.
However, high blood pressure doesn’t always need medical treatment.
Dr Lee said: “Your doctor will advise you when drug treatment for your high blood pressure is needed.”
Your blood pressure should be below 140/90, and if it is above this it’s time to do something.
The decision to treat your blood pressure is also affected by your age, other risk factors for heart disease, and evidence that your blood pressure has caused damage, for example to the kidney or the back of the eye – the retina.
Dr Lee said: “You will generally need to have a series of blood pressure readings before a diagnosis of hypertension is made.
“However, even if blood pressure medication is needed, you will still be advised to make lifestyle changes.
“These include stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet, taking more exercise, and losing weight.”
The British Heart Foundation believes that ‘for some people, losing weight is all they need to get their blood pressure down to a normal level.’
This might not be true for some people, but it will definitely help to lose weight if you are overweight.
You can read advice from a dietician about how to succeed with long term weight loss here.
Losing weight is not easy, but you can do it if you are determined and motivated, Dr Lee said.
Why not try the NHS 12-week diet plan? Alternatively, you might find the NHS calorie tracker useful or you could track your weight loss journey with the free myfitnesspal app.
See your GP or practice nurse for advice and support if you’re struggling.
Dr Lee added: “Consider joining a weight loss group – such as Weight Watchers or Slimming World, as research suggests these can be very effective in assisting weight loss.
“Discuss with your GP the use of weight-loss drugs such as Orlistat – this works by reducing the absorption of dietary fat.
“If you have morbid obesity, defined as a BMI of 40, or 35 and over along with another medical condition such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension, you can ask for a referral to a specialist obesity clinic, and for consideration of bariatric surgery.”
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