Obesity and Hypertension – Key Indicators of Metabolic Syndrome
Hypertension, known as high blood pressure in colloquial language, is when the pressure that the blood pumping around the cardiovascular system is too high for the blood vessel walls to sustain. (1) (2) The blood exerts a force against the walls of your arteries and can be measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), and is additionally given as two numbers. The first number is indicative of systolic pressure while the second one of diastolic pressure. (3) Normally, the blood pressure should be below 120 on the top and below 80 on the bottom most of the time. Blood pressure can vary throughout the day and is increased by things such as stress (anger or fear), but it is only really a risk if the condition is measurable all the time. (4) Kidney problems, or stroke can also contribute to high blood pressure and can make the condition an extra risk factor. (5)
The link to obesity
Hypertension and obesity are linked through a variety of conditions. (6) Obesity, particularly central obesity, is one of the most visible symptoms of a larger metabolic disorder. (7) Increased cardiovascular risk is also associated with obesity, hypertension and the metabolic syndrome. (8) The metabolic syndrome is a collective name for a number of conditions which have been identified as being part of this larger disease; conditions such as coronary artery disease, sleep apnea, stroke, and congestive heart failure. (9)
It is virtually clear in the most recent science that the metabolic disorder, of which hypertension is just a small part, is due to imbalances in the neuroendocrine mechanisms, (10) as well as various substances that circulate throughout the body, such as insulin created by the pancreas, cholesterol, triglycerides, glycogen, leptin and adipose tissue. Parts of the digestive system, the brain and even body fat have been shown to be working together in the management of the metabolism.
The primary catalyst for exacerbating and making worse all the ailments associated with metabolic syndrome is obesity, which has a direct influence through insulin. (11) This can be explained by the function of and effect of excess body-fat on the metabolic system. Body-fat releases a number of hormones, but primarily one called leptin, which is responsible for the regulation of appetite. (12) Leptin also interacts with insulin, which is created by the pancreas and is responsible for maintaining and regulating blood-sugar levels. (13) (14) The liver, (15) which is responsible for converting carbohydrates and complex sugars into simple glycogen, is also intimately involved in this process as is cholesterol. (16) There is a fine balance between all of them that when overturned, begins to manifest itself in various symptoms, of which obesity and hypertension are just two of the more visible ones. Untreated metabolic syndrome is thought to be responsible for many different illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, stroke, deep vein thrombosis and a few more. (17)
Measuring and dealing with hypertension
There is a two-pronged approach to dealing with hypertension and the underlying metabolic syndrome that is responsible for it. First, it is imperative that if you are overweight or obese you work on getting your body back to a normal shape for your height. Your body mass index should be between 18 and 25. (18) Some body-fat is normal, and the acceptable numbers are about 3%–5% in men, and 8–12% in women. (19) But there are different kinds of fat and the location of the fat may also be a risk factor. If you are a male and have a lot of body-fat around the abdomen (central obesity) then you are at a much higher risk of developing terminal illnesses related to metabolic syndrome. (20) For women, the risk location is below the waist, around the hips and the thighs. (21) Body-fat releases a hormone into the body called leptin that is supposed to act as an appetite regulator, but if you have too much body-fat then this hormone is so abundant in your bloodstream that you actually become immune to it. This explains why people who are far more overweight than they should be feel like they always need to eat meals or snack in between. Even losing just a few pounds of body-fat can promote well-being and start to make you feel healthier instantly. If you know you have a problem with weight and overeating, just getting into the swing of a weight-loss program by losing a few pounds in a week or two will push you to work harder.
A lot of people attempt weight-loss by reducing the number of calories that they take in, but this has been shown to be counterproductive, because the body has a good ability to alter its metabolism to fit the amount of energy it is receiving from nutrition. The best way to lose weight is not to cut the calories, but to stop eating the things that make you fat in the first place. Keep in mind that what makes you fat is simple and complex sugars, and also that carbohydrates are converted to sugar in your body, (22) so reducing the amount of refined carbohydrates you eat and increasing the percentage of good protein and good fat and fatty acids will help you lose weight faster.
The second approach to lowering your blood pressure is to make sure you are drinking enough water as well as getting enough exercise. (23) Most people don’t drink enough water in their daily routine and if you don’t like the taste of water then you can make it better by adding a lemon or even some non-sugar sweetener such as the one from the stevia plant. Making sure you have adequate exercise in your routine is also extremely important for the fight against obesity and hypertension. Exercise makes your blood circulate faster and can help speed up the metabolism as well as the natural detoxification process that is managed by your liver. If you incorporate a healthy diet, regular exercise and even workouts into your schedule, you can make sure you fight obesity, hypertension and all the other symptoms of metabolic syndrome all at the same time.