If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Your weight can influence your health in many ways, such as your energy levels, mood and risk of chronic disease. Research has also found a link between weight and blood pressure, with a BMI in the overweight or obese range increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, which carries its own risks to your health.
Source: "Weight Loss and Blood Pressure Control," AHA Journals, 2008
Blood pressure is the force of your blood as your heart pumps it around your body. It is composed of two numbers, which measure the systolic and diastolic pressure of your blood, measured in mmHg.
For example a blood pressure reading might be 120/80. The top number is the systolic pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure.
The systolic reading is a measure of the pressure in your arteries as your heart pumps out blood on each beat, in mmHg. This is an indicator of the force the heart exerts on the walls of your artery each time it beats. A higher number indicates more force is being exerted, which over time, can damage the walls of the arteries.
The bottom number is the diastolic pressure which measures the pressure in your arteries in between each beat, when your heart relaxes. This is the point of the lowest pressure and where your heart is at rest and filling with blood.
As you can imagine, the systolic pressure is always higher, as it takes more pressure to push the blood from your heart around your body.
You can get your blood pressure checked when you
When you get your blood pressure taken, the clinician (either a doctor, nurse or pharmacist) will wrap a cuff around your arm. The cuff will inflate, and then deflate. Sometimes the clinician might take a second, or even third reading.
There are no obvious signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, so you may not know you have it. That’s why it’s important to have regular check-ups to measure your blood pressure levels and learn how to manage it.
Generally if your systolic pressure (the top number) is higher than 140, or your diastolic pressure (the lower number) is higher than 90, this could indicate you have hypertension. Hypertension increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
A ‘normal’ blood pressure reading would be:
Your doctor will advise you what your ideal blood pressure should be based on your health and circumstances.
Your blood pressure will naturally vary throughout the day and depending on what you are doing. For example, your blood pressure can increase while exercising. So it’s important when measuring your blood pressure to do so at consistent times to be able to compare results.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when your blood pressure is consistently higher than the average range, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood around the body.
High blood pressure can result in developing a range of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
While blood pressure tends to increase with age, it doesn't mean that it is without risks. As we age, our artery walls stiffen, which forces the heart to pump harder. The heart then may become less effective, and has to pump harder to deliver blood around the body. This can lead to further damage to the arteries and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as strokes.
Often, high blood pressure has no visible symptoms, so it’s important to get it regularly checked, particularly if you are overweight. If you do have high blood pressure, there are lifestyle changes you can make to manage it.
Some people can successfully lower their blood pressure by making lifestyle changes.
Studies have shown that increasing fibre intake, reduces the risk of developing hypertension. Additionally, eating high-fibre foods make us feel more satisfied and full, which is beneficial for weight loss.
High-fibre foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Tips to increase fibre intake:
A high intake of salt is associated with high blood pressure. Most of the salt in our diet comes from packaged foods. You will notice on food labels that salt is listed as ‘sodium’.
Tips to reduce salt intake:
Eating potassium-rich foods can help negate the effects of sodium in the body. Potassium helps the body remove sodium through the urine and eases tension within your blood vessels - both of which help maintain blood pressure.
Potassium-rich foods include:
With Rosemary Health’s doctor guided weight loss program, you can learn how to develop sustainable, healthy habits that can improve your blood pressure.
The doctors at Rosemary Health are experienced at helping people lose weight, especially when lifestyle efforts alone haven’t been enough. Learn more about our doctor-guided weight loss program, which combines proven treatments and 1:1 medical guidance to help you lose weight effectively.