There is a close association between high blood pressure and obesity. On this page, we provide information on the increased risk of obesity poses and how weight loss surgery can provide an effective method of treatment.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
More than 1 in 4 adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many won’t realise it. If you are obese and have not checked your blood pressure it is a good idea to do so. You can do this at your GP surgery or do it yourself by purchasing a blood pressure machine from any reputable chemist. There are a lot of treatment options to be pursued before you arrive at weight loss surgery but the process begins with this simple blood pressure test.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
As a general guide:
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you are at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Although there are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure it can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
The Link Between Your Weight and Your Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure and your weight are linked in several ways. Having a larger body size may increase blood pressure because your heart needs to ‘pump’ harder to supply blood to all of your cells. Excess fat can also cause damage to your kidneys. This is important as your kidneys play a role in regulating blood pressure.
In 2005 a large study was published based on nurses in America. 83,882 female nurses aged 27 to 44 years with normal blood pressure were followed for 14 years up until 2005 for high blood pressure. The study showed that the strongest risk factor for developing hypertension was an increased body mass index with obese women having a 4.7 times higher incidence of hypertension than women with a body mass index less than 23.0 kg/m2. In this study, 40% of new hypertension cases were attributed to overweight or obesity.
Treatment of High Blood Pressure
The first line of treatment for high blood pressure involves lifestyle changes, mainly aimed at improving diet and lowering weight. This might be supplemented by medical therapy.
Despite these interventions, a large number of patients find it hard to achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight and their blood pressure may remain high as a result.
For this group, weight loss surgery is a safe and effective treatment option.
The gastric bypass and gastric sleeve are the most effective surgical procedures for treating hypertension with both showing complete resolution or improvement in about 85-90% of patients.
The gastric band is also effective but at a slightly lower rate of about 70%.
The choice of which procedure is best for you is likely to depend on a wide range of factors and not your blood pressure alone.
At your surgeon consultation, we’ll discuss your wider state of health, lifestyle, weight history and diet as well as your weight and health objectives. All of these factors and others that are personal to you will determine which procedure is best. Our team will help you through that decision making process.