Why Does Being Overweight Cause High Blood Pressure?

By Contributing Writer

  • Overview

    Why Does Being Overweight Cause High Blood Pressure?
    Being overweight is a strong risk factor for many health conditions, including high blood pressure. And, according to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease. The Work Health Network has found that being overweight increases a person's risk of developing high blood pressure by anywhere from 50 to 300%. There are a number of reasons why being overweight causes high blood pressure and, luckily, there are also steps you can take to reduce your risk.
  • The Heart

    Being overweight increases the amount of blood in your body and causes your heart to work harder to pump blood. After awhile, the repeated effort of circulating more blood can cause damage to your heart by causing it to expand and thicken, according to Fairview Health Services. This causes a vicious cycle where the heart muscle thickens and it becomes harder to pump the same amount of blood, which causes additional thickening in the heart muscle.
  • Sodium

    In addition to stressing the heart, being overweight causes your body to retain more sodium than it normally would. You have probably heard your doctor or other health professionals warn about the dangers of excess sodium for heart health, and there is a good reason why. The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) warns that excess sodium causes your body to retain water, which increases blood volume. This additional volume impacts the veins and arteries, which adapt and thicken just like the heart. As the arteries get thicker, the heart must work harder to pump blood throughout the body.


  • Kidneys

    There also appears to be a relationship between being overweight and kidney problems. The National Kidney Foundation has found that excess body fat raises a person's risk for kidney disease. The kidneys help regulate fluid and sodium in the body, so the kidney problems caused by being overweight may interfere with the body's ability to regulate sodium, which in turn can lead to high blood pressure.
  • Hormones

    The accumulation of excess body fat also causes an increase in hormone production in the body. A study from Sapparo Medical University has found a relationship between the hormone leptin, which is produced by body fat, and high blood pressure. While more research needs to be done on this relationship, there is a great deal of speculation that overweight people tend to create more leptin in their bodies, due to their excess fat stores. In addition to the factors mentioned above, this could be another reason why being overweight causes high blood pressure.
  • The Good News

    While being overweight can cause a whole host of health problems, there is some good news for those worried that their excess weight may lead to high blood pressure and other ailments. The National Institute of Health has found that overweight people can improve their health and decrease their chances of developing conditions like high blood pressure simply by losing even 10-20 pounds.
  • Your Doctor

    High blood pressure is a serious condition and there are a number of factors that may contribute to it. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have questions about how your weight may be impacting your health.
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