Abdominal Fat Could Increase Risk of Developing Hypertension

Researchers have long been studying the link between obesity and hypertension. A new study, the Dallas Heart Study, indicates that there may be a major link between abdominal fat – fat near the midsection – and development of high blood pressure.

Alvin Chandra, MD, of the University of Texas Southwest Medical Centre, noted the link: “Obesity has been linked to the development of hypertension, but whether total adiposity or site-specific fat accumulation underpins this relationship is unclear.”

The researchers involved in the Dallas Heart Study monitored 903 patients without hypertension with a median age of 40. The sample was 57% female. Observation of the group occurred over the course of seven years, and participants took part in an imaging test to measure adiposity.

While high levels of adipose tissue were closely linked with hypertension across the study, visceral adiposity was more closely correlated with the chance of high blood pressure developing in test participants.

In simple terms, the data indicates that fat centred on the waist and midsection has a more significant effect on blood pressure than fat that is evenly distributed across the body. Despite this, the conclusiveness of the study is not yet confirmed.

Researchers noted: “Increased visceral adiposity, but not total or subcutaneous adiposity, was robustly associated with incident hypertension. Additional studies will be needed to elucidate the mechanisms behind this association.”

Despite the potentially higher risk of hypertension associated with abdominal fat, even obese people without significant amounts of fat around their midsection and organs face an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure.

Because of this, it’s important to prevent high blood pressure from developing by following a healthy diet and lifestyle centred around low-fat, low-sodium dieting and frequent exercise.


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