Hypertension

High blood pressure and increased cardiovascular risk are frequent companions of higher BMIs. If you are significantly overweight, the burden of extra weight means your heart has to pump harder. Combined with an increased blood volume and thickened vessels, these factors put an overweight individual at an increased risk of becoming hypertensive.

What is Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a medical condition in which arterial blood pressure has increased, surpassing the normal blood pressure value of 120/80. Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is considered “pre-hypertension.” When the blood pressure reaches 140/90 or above, it is considered hypertension.

Hypertension increases the risk of heart disease and shortens life expectancy. Medication is often needed on a long-term basis if hypertension cannot be brought under control by lifestyle changes. High blood pressure is a risk factor for:

  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure

WEIGHT AND HYPERTENSION

Aside from putting you at an increased risk of hypertension, excess weight may also cause structural changes to the heart. This process, referred to as adverse cardiac remodeling, can cause irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, or even heart failure. Once present, these changes are very dangerous and most likely irreversible, but catching symptoms of deterioration early and addressing them with appropriate lifestyle changes can help you combat hypertension from the beginning. If you are significantly overweight, the first step to improving your health is shedding extra pounds. Adjustable gastric banding has been shown to be an effective method for reducing blood pressure and returning cardiovascular risks to normal levels.

Get started today. Schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our board certified bariatric surgeons.

THE CAUSES AND DIAGNOSIS OF HYPERTENSION

While excess weight is strongly related to hypertension, other elements may contribute to increased blood pressure.

These additional factors include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Renal insufficiency (also known as kidney failure)
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Excessive salt intake
  • Excessive consumption of coffee or alcohol
  • Smoking

Fortunately hypertension can be very easily diagnosed during your routine medical checkup. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vision disorders

If you have hypertension, you might also suffer from an enlarged heart, neurological damage, and changes in the retina. The doctor will examine your eyes for small hemorrhages or eye nerve swelling that may be caused by prolonged increased blood pressure.

It is important that these symptoms are detected early, otherwise vital organs might be irreversibly affected. If your doctor discovers any worrisome changes, he will probably investigate them further by using appropriate tests and methods, such as an electrocardiogram or x-rays. He may also order an echocardiography to see if the heart is enlarged, and a blood and urine tests to detect kidney abnormalities.

TREATING HYPERTENSION

In the moderate stages, hypertension can be treated with dietary changes and exercise, but if it is not discovered early, more aggressive treatment may be needed. In these cases, medication is usually prescribed.

Hypertension treatment can include:

  • Diet for hypertension patients: Foods have to be carefully chosen, usually aiming for low-sodium foods and fresh fruits and veggies.
    More exercise: Lack of exercise is a risk factor for hypertension.
  • Medication: Anti-hypertensive medication is available, but be sure to check with your doctor for contraindications if you have other medical conditions.
  • Alternative medicine: Alternative treatments can be used to temporarily decrease blood pressure, but a very structured and disciplined daily regimen should be set to achieve long-term results.

Weight-loss surgery has also been proven to decrease blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risks. It is not necessary for you to lose a specific amount of weight, as you will feel the difference in your entire body with every pound lost.

LAP-BAND® SURGERY FOR HYPERTENSION PATIENTS

LAP-BAND surgery, often performed on an outpatient basis, is available for patients in Chicago who have hypertension and want to have a better quality of life. Contact DayOne Health to see if you meet the criteria for LAP-BAND placement or other forms of bariatric surgery. We will support you in your journey to improve your blood pressure and overall health.

GASTRIC SLEEVE AND HYPERTENSION

Similarly to the LAP-BAND procedure, gastric sleeve can be a great tool in fighting your hypertension. The systematic metanalysis congregating over 33 studies on gastric sleeve patients, performed by Dr. Kourosh Sarkhosh et al., concluded that overall 58% of patients experienced resolution or improvement in their hypertension. The study concluded that gastric sleeve should be considered as a viable option in hypertension treatment. If you are at increased risk of developing hypertension, or if you were already diagnosed, gastric sleeve may be an option worth considering.