To understand the importance of weight loss relative to hypertension (high blood pressure) you must first understand what having hypertension can do to your body. Hypertension can affect many systems in the body -
- Cardiovascular: artery damage and narrowing, enlarged left heart, heart failure, aneurysm.
- Nervous system: stroke, transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke), dementia.
- Eyes: blood vessel damage (retinopathy), nerve damage (optic neuropathy).
- Kidneys: kidney failure, kidney scarring, kidney artery aneurysm.
Weight loss can have a great impact on reducing the risk of these medical problems. Weight loss can lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure, even more effectively than weight loss drugs and weight loss surgery. Sustained weight loss is associated with about a 25% reduction in risk of developing hypertension.
Making changes in what you eat can help control blood pressure: reduce sodium, eat more fruits and vegetables, eat more fiber, reduce caffeine intake. These lifestyle changes are easy to do so get started! Take it down a notch - lower your weight and lower your blood pressure!