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Hypertension: The effect of body weight
Thursday, March 18, 2004 10:04 am Email this article
A 10 pound weight gain is associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure (the upper number) of 4.5 mmHg.
It is important for clinicians to assess the percentage of body fat not just weight alone when treating hypertension, says Zhiping Huang and Archana Reddy from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City in an excellent review paper on the effect of body weight and weight change on hypertension.
One study that they reviewed found that in patients who reduced body fat without a change in body weight had a significant drop in blood pressure from 149/92 mm Hg to 141/86 mm Hg.
Here are some other interesting facts about the relationship between body weight and blood pressure that were noted in the paper.
60-70 PERCENT DUE TO OBESITY
Sixty-one percent of hypertension in women and 70 percent in men in the Framingham study was attributable to obesity.
1 BMI Unit increases risk 12 percent.
An increase of 1 BMI unit was associated with a 12 percent increased risk of hypertension according to the Nurses Health Study which included 82,473 U.S. women who were followed for sixteen years.
RISK AT BMI OF 25 IS 2.6 TIMES, BMI OF 31 IS 6.3 TIMES
The risk of hypertension is 2.6 times as great for women with a BMI of 25 and 6.3 times as great in women with a BMI of 31 compared to women with a BMI of less than 20.
EARLY WEIGHT INCREASES LATER RISK
An higher BMI at the age of 18-years-old is associated with an elevated risk of hypertension later in life even among women who weigh the same.
The risk of hypertension was 2.3 times greater in women with a BMI greater than 25 at the age of eighteen compared to those with a BMI of less than 18.2.
10 LBS GAIN INCREASES SYSTOLIC PRESSURE 4.5 MM HG
Systolic blood pressure increases 4.5 mm Hg for every ten pound weight gain as an adult according to the Framingham study.
4-55 LBS GAIN IN WOMEN INCREASES RISK 29-500 PERCENT
An adult weight gain of 4 to 11 pounds increases the risk of hypertension by 29 percent according to the Nurses Health Study.
A weight gain of 11 to 22 pounds increases the risk 74 percent.
While a weight gain of 55 pounds increases the risk 500 percent.
This association appears to be approximately linear, that is that a 2.2 pound weight gain is associated with a 5 percent increase in the risk of hypertension.
2 POUND LOSS DECREASES PRESSURE 0.5-1 MM HG
A weight loss of 2.2 pounds is associated with a decrease in blood pressure of 0.5 to 1 mm Hg.
11-22 LBS LOSS REDUCES RISK 15-26 PERCENT IN WOMEN
The risk of hypertension was reduced 15 percent in women who lost 11 to 22 pounds in the Nurses Health Study compared to those whose weight was stable.
The risk was 26 percent lower in women who lost more than 22 pounds.
LONG-TERM LOSS REDUCES RISK FURTHER
The risk of hypertension was even lower for women who maintained their weight loss for at least two years.
Among women who maintained a weight loss of 11 to 22 pounds the risk was reduced 24 percent and in those who maintained a loss of more than 22 pounds the risk was reduced 45 percent.
LOW BIRTH WEIGHT MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH RISK
Some studies have found that a low birth weight is associated with the risk of hypertension as an adult while others suggest that childhood growth is more determinant of adult blood pressure.
Huang Z; Reddy A. Weight change, ideal weight and hypertension. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension, 1999 May, 8(3):343-6.
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