High blood pressure may be linked to higher BMI and obesity

If you have a higher body mass index(BMI), chances are you may have increased blood pressure(BP) too, a new study has found. The findings, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, showed a strong correlation between the degree of obesity and high blood pressure.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to several cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure. For the study, the research team involved 1.7 million Chinese men and women aged between 35 and 80 years and recorded the participants’ blood pressure from September 2014 to June 2017. They observed an increase of 0.8 to 1.7 mm Hg (kg/m2) in blood pressure per additional unit of BMI in individuals who were not taking anti-hypertensive medication.

Overall, the population had a mean BMI of 24.7 and a mean systolic blood pressure of 136.5, which qualifies as stage-I hypertension, according to American Heart Association guidelines. “If trends in overweight and obesity continue in China, the implication of our study is that hypertension, already a major risk factor, is likely to become even more important,” said senior author Harlan Krumholz from Yale University in the US. “This paper is ringing the bell that the time is now to focus on these risk factors,” he added.

The enormous size of the dataset allows us to characterise this relationship between BMI and blood pressure across tens of thousands of subgroups, which simply would not be possible in a smaller study, said author George Linderman from the varsity.

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First Published: Aug 19, 2018 10:35 IST

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