Obesity and Hypertension

Hypertension (high blood pressure) refers to the pressure that blood applies to the inner walls of the arteries. High blood pressure is based on the average of two or more properly measured blood pressure readings at each of two or more visits after an initial screening.

Obesity is the increase in the body fat and occurs in both the sexes and can affect any age group. There are several factors which are associated with increasing the amount of body fat that results in obesity. Weight gain occurs when one eats more calories than your body uses. The most important causes are genetic, metabolic, psychological, socio-cultural, sedentary lifestyle and high caloric nutrition factors.

Obesity increases the risk of the development of hypertension. There are three facets of obesity-hypertension nexus. First is the potential mechanisms by which obesity can lead to elevated arterial pressure. Central adiposity, in particular, is the dominant risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, which routinely clusters with hypertension because of common underlying pathophysiology.

It is important to understand that obesity related hypertension leads to a multiple factor disorder. It is most likely that obesity leading to metabolic dysfunction and a possible renal factor may lead to hypertension observed in obese people.

To control the obesity related hypertension, critical weight loss is an effective way of managing the condition. Weight loss will lead to a significant lowering of blood pressure. It is important to work from the beginning before hypertension leads to other cardiovascular risks in obese patients. It is also important that a global strategy be developed for management of obesity and its further complication into other cardiovascular risks.

It is clear that obesity-related hypertension is a multi-factorial disorder. At this time, it is not possible to identify one single mechanism as the dominant aetiological factor. Genesis and evolution of obesity-related co-morbidity presumably depend on several genetic and environmental factors. It is likely that obesity, hypertension and metabolic abnormalities interact and potentiate their individual impact on cardiovascular risk.