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VIII - High blood pressure and special cases

8.1 - High blood pressure and sport
8.2 - High blood pressure and obesity
8.3 - High blood pressure and pregnancy
8.4 - High blood pressure and elderly
8.5 - High blood pressure and children
8.6 - High blood pressure and contraception
8.7 - Influence of hormones on high blood pressure (case of the post-menopausal woman)
8.8 - Influence of life style modification on blood pressure

8.2- High blood pressure and obesity

Many medical studies have shown a relation between obesity and high blood pressure. In fact, obese people have a higher blood pressure than people with a normal blood pressure. The cardiovascular risk is increased with obesity.

Why is there is a relation between obesity and high blood pressure?

Many medical studies have shown that obesity presented an increase in the cardiac output and the blood volume, and in the arterial resistance. In fact, obesity induces a high secretion of insulin in trying to decrease the excessive sugar concentration in the blood. This insulin secretion is very high compared to a non-obese subject.

Moreover, the insulin, secreted by the pancreas, is responsible for many modifications in the body:

  • It induces a thickening of the vessels which is responsible for an increase in their rigidity, thus increasing the blood pressure;

  • It increases the cardiac output, because the secretion of adrenalin is increased;

  • It induces the reabsorption of water and salt by the kidney, which increases the blood volume and thus increases the blood pressure;

  • Moreover, obesity is responsible for an over-sensitiveness to sodium, which is known to increase the rigidity of the peripheral arteries.

After some time, the obese subject will develop a natural resistance to the insulin which will lead his body to synthetize more insulin, thus generating a rise in the blood pressure by the way of the mechanisms described above.

File last modified on : 28 sep 2003
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