Working Towards Healthy Blood Pressure
Obesity impacts the body in many ways. One of the primary health concerns that many people face as a result of living with excess weight is hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Your blood pressure measures the strength at which your blood pumps through your veins. It concerns your heart health because it is a direct reflection of how well your heart is managing to control the movement of blood circulation in your body. There are approximately 85 million Americans in the United States who have high blood pressure—that counts for almost one in every three Americans over the age of 20. What’s worse: Almost 20% of those with high blood pressure or hypertension aren’t even aware that they have a problem!
A basic trip to the doctor will guarantee that your blood pressure is checked. That is what the nurse is measuring with that classic black arm band that gets tight around your bicep. Your blood pressure is measured through two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure is the measurement of the peak pressure, the maximum amount of force exerted by the heart to pump blood.
- Diastolic blood pressure is a measurement of the resting pressure, the least amount of pressure that the heart will use. This is the amount of force the heart is still exuding in between pumps.
The two numbers that make up your blood pressure are a reflection of these two components. Systolic is reported as the top number, and is always going to higher than diastolic. Someone with absolutely healthy blood pressure levels is going to have a systolic number at 120 or below, and a diastolic number of 80 or below for a total blood pressure reading of 120 / 80. As either of these numbers increase it is a sign that the heart is working harder than it ought to, and you may be developing hypertension.
Making changes to your diet is the first course of recommended action for addressing hypertension. As you embark on your weight loss journey with bariatric surgery, your weight loss surgeon will look at all major obesity related health conditions and will analyze your heart health to ensure that you are taking the best steps to improve your health as you lose weight. Sometimes, in addition to making changes to your diet for weight loss outcomes, your doctor will recommend certain dietary changes that are proven to support a healthy heart.
Eating for healthy blood pressure looks similar in many ways to eating for weight loss after bariatric surgery. The smaller portion sizes, reduction of large intake of sweets and fats, and focusing on eating smaller meals that are nutritionally dense throughout the day will both help you lose weight and improve your blood pressure.