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.
Did you know that high blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions in the world? Almost one billion people – about one in seven – are affected by high or elevated blood pressure levels that significantly increase their health risks.
High blood pressure is truly a global problem, and treating it required a worldwide effort to change habits, learn more about the causes of high blood pressure and take treatment seriously.
High blood pressure’s worldwide coverage
Unlike many transmittable diseases, which spread in developing countries but are largely not an issue in the developed world, high blood pressure is a condition that is truly global in its distribution.
In fact, people in the developed world often suffer from high blood pressure at rates far greater than those found in the developing world. In Poland, an astonishing 68.9 per cent of men and 72.5% of women have higher-than-normal blood pressure.
Treating a worldwide health problem
While many health conditions can be eradicated with medication alone, high blood pressure is often best treated with a combination of medication and changes to the person’s lifestyle, diet and activity level.
Because of this, it’s a health condition that can inspire global change to people’s diet habits and focus on exercise. Every year, high blood pressure is a wake-up call to an incredible number of people that they need to pay more attention to their health.
An increasing problem for children
Over the last 20 years, rates of high blood pressure in children have increased. New data from the United States shows that an increasing number of children have high blood pressure due to the growing obesity problem in many countries.
Since high blood pressure can happen early in life, it’s important to start changing our habits to prevent it as early as possible. From diet to exercise, habits learned as children tend to continue throughout life and keep blood pressure levels normal.