What is the relationship between overweight and hypertension?

What is the relationship between overweight and hypertension?

Overweight brings with it a multitude of associated disorders. Some of them are related to the musculoskeletal or digestive systems. Others have to do with the cardiovascular system: among these is hypertension.

But the danger of hypertension is not hypertension itself, but the concomitant cardiovascular risk. It produces a huge increase in the chances of experiencing events such as heart attacks or strokes. Being overweight alone already increases the risk of cardiovascular failure. That is why when they appear simultaneously overweight and hypertension they give rise to a very important cardiovascular risk.

Cardiovascular risk, overweight and hypertension

Both overweight and obesity are defined according to a parameter that is the body mass index (BMI). The BMI is calculated by dividing the person’s weight (in kilos) by their height (in meters) squared. Thus, overweight is defined as a BMI greater than 25 kg / m², and obesity as a BMI greater than 30 kg / m².

Hypertension is defined when someone has blood pressure values greater than 140/90 mmHg. Both obesity and overweight are considered the most important environmental triggers of all those involved in the onset of hypertension.

Thus, it is calculated that for every 10 kg of weight gained an increase in blood pressure of about 2-3 mmHg occurs. However, the cardiovascular risk that obesity brings also has to do with where the fat is located. Thus, the most dangerous for the organism is located at the abdominal level.

On the other hand, it is necessary to take into account that in addition to hypertension. Overweight also predisposes to other pathologies such as diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. These last two diseases produce atherosclerosis. Which damages the vessels and further increases cardiovascular risk.

Cardiovascular risk, overweight and hypertension

Overweight and hypertension increase cardiovascular risk

The following will explain the events that lead to develop hypertensionfrom overweight.

Adrenergic activity

In the course of overweight there is an increase in adrenergic activity, ie, adrenaline. This leads to a multitude of events that, on the one hand, promote hypertension. And on the other hand, increase cardiovascular risk.

Adrenaline produces generalized vasoconstriction, that is, reduction of the caliber of the arteries. This in itself results in an increase in blood pressure. But it also produces vasoconstriction of the coronary arteries, which greatly increases the risk of infarction.

As a result of adrenaline, hypertensive mechanisms are carried out at the renal level. One of them is the reabsorption of sodium from the urine, which increases the blood pressure figures. The other is the secretion of renin, which is a hypertensive peptide.

On the other hand, adrenaline promotes platelet aggregation. This increases the risk of vascular accidents such as thrombosis or embolism.

An increase in cardiac output is also generated, which is the amount of blood expelled by the heart in each minute. This is because it increases both the heart rate and the ejection fraction (amount of blood expelled in each beat).


In the course of hypertension, by a series of mechanisms at the renal level. The concentration of aldosterone increases. This, also at the renal level, results in a greater sodium reabsorption. As we have explained before, large amounts of sodium increase the blood pressure figures.

Measures to control overweight and hypertension

There are pharmacological and surgical treatments for the control of overweight and hypertension. However, the most effective are the so-called conservative measures. This term refers to those changes in the lifestyle aimed at correcting the disorder that is suffered.

Weight control is considered the cornerstone of the non-pharmacological treatment of hypertension. All people with hypertension and overweight should start a weight reduction program. This program should involve a reduction in caloric intake and an increase in physical activity.

Physical activity should be moderate and appropriate to the person’s age and possibilities. It is advisable to perform aerobic activities, that is, those of moderate intensity but that it is possible to maintain them for a considerable time. Examples of aerobic activities are swimming, running, walking, cycling…

These aerobic exercises are aimed at activating the cardiovascular mechanism of the organism. That is why the heart rate during them must be increased. In order to increase it a little more each time and get a healthier organism.

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