How does overweight cause high blood pressure?

What about being overweight?

First we need to clearly define what it is to be overweight. Most women not only are aware of their weight status but are actually likely to overestimate how overweight they are; men have the opposite problem. The simplest way of determining your ideal weight is to do the “pinch test.” Pull out on the skin at your waist just above your hip. If it is less than an inch and close to the width of your little finger, you are the unusual person who is at his or her ideal weight. It has been found that excess weight at the waistline is more damaging than excess weight on the hips or arms this is the socalled male pattern of obesity, because men are more likely to put on extra weight at the waistline.

For men, ideal weight equals height in inches times 4 minus 120; for women, height in inches times 3.5 minus 100. Thus for a 5-foot-5-inch woman, ideal weight is 127.5 pounds. For most of us, excess weight does not increase heart disease risk until you are about 10 or 15 percent above your ideal, and generally after that point the risk increases as your degree of overweight increases.

Being overweight doesn’t carry the same risk for everyone. For those with a family history of Type 2 diabetes, as little a weight gain as 5 percent over what is called “ideal” body weight increases the risk of heart disease. These individuals develop insulin resistance and high blood triglyceride levels, the precursors of this type of diabetes. Carrying excess weight has been shown to increase total cholesterol and especially triglycerides, while lowering the good HDL cholesterol.

Being overweight is one of the biggest triggers of high bloodpressure, a prime contributor to heart disease. If we look at all the factors affecting high blood pressure, weight loss appears to be the single most effective means of lowering it. Also, as described earlier, losing extra weight, especially when combined with increased exercise, can have a profound effect on diabetes, even to the point of lead ing to a normal blood sugar level, as well as important lowering of blood triglycerides.


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