120313 The effect of excess weight and fat on your blood pressure

The effect of excess weight and fat on your blood pressure

If your blood pressure is pre hypertensive [1] or higher, it could very well be the result of carrying too much bodyweight. Even if your scales are telling you that your weight is normal, you could still be carrying more visceral fat, the fat surrounding your internal organs, than is healthy. Visceral fat adversely affects your blood pressure and increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and various other health conditions.

Body fat tissue discharges disrupting hormones that upset your body’s normal hormonal balance. This causes a cascading effect on the rest of the hormones. Abdominal fat causes an increase in insulin levels, which then activates the sympathetic nervous system causing a rise in the catecholamine product levels. Catecholamines include dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These constrict the blood vessels and increase blood pressure.

Additional problems arise with added fat pressure on the kidneys because this pressure activates hormones in the kidneys that regulate blood pressure, causing it to rise. And finally, insulin causes additional salt retention in the bloodstream, which can also raise blood pressure.

Often times, the body mass index is used as a guideline in measuring weight and fat. However, this can give erroneous readings because there is no differentiation between lean muscle and fat. This means the visceral fat in the abdominal area maybe overlooked. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, overweight is 25.29.9 is and anything above 30 is obese.

A study in 2007 using MRI scans discovered 45% of women and almost 60% of the men with normal scale weight and waists had excessive abdominal fat according to current height and weight ratios.

Dr. David Heber, MD, PhD specializing in endocrinology and the UCLA director of the Center for Human Nutrition and Risk Factor Obesity Program termed this BMI/visceral fat discrepancy sarcopenic obesity, now used as a prognostic tool for the risk of breast cancer.

In order to mitigate the dangers of sarcopenic obesity Dr. Heber recommends combining resistance strength training such as weightlifting with sound nutritional practices. Following a healthy protein rich diet ensures you are able to maintain your muscle mass while controlling your appetite and losing fat tissue at the same time.