Posted: March 21st, 2022

Blood pressure and abdominal obesity

Blood pressure and abdominal obesity

While we can gain weight in all parts of our bodies, usually, most obese people tend to accumulate most of the fat around the abdominal area, a condition referred to as abdominal obesity. Abdominal obesity is often described as having a waist circumference of more than 90cm for men and 80cm for women.

Obesity has long been linked to critical health problems, including hypertension and diabetes. By developing hypertension, you stand a higher risk of other more serious heart problems. While all obese people are generally at a high risk of high blood pressure, studies have shown that people who carry most of the weight around their abdomen section are at an exceptionally higher risk of developing hypertension and other heart conditions.

One particular Chinese study involving 10,000 and published in the British medical journal Heart sought to evaluate the relationship between changes in the waist circumference with blood pressure over a period of six years. The study established that belly fat increases the risk of developing hypertension and related health problems like diabetes and heart conditions.

However, obesity alone does not cause hypertension but rather increases the risk of developing the condition. Being hypertensive and obese simultaneously, particularly having excess abdominal fat, increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

Too much weight on the abdominal area puts pressure on major organs, including the kidneys, which in turn puts more strain on the heart, developing hypertension. High blood pressure damages the blood vessels of the kidney by thickening and stiffening the walls and limiting blood flow. This makes it extremely hard for the kidneys to effectively filter and remove fluids and waste from the body. The resulting condition forces the heart to work harder in an effort to drain excess fluid from the body, which causes increased blood pressure.

These findings only emphasize the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy abdominal weight and size to lower the risk of developing hypertension. There are many ways to prevent and control high blood pressure, including medications known as antihypertensives. However, obesity is ranked a primary complicating factor. Various ways to reduce obesity involve making major lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, avoiding foods with a high level of calories, and limiting sugar intake.

However, even as you endeavor to lower your weight and control high blood pressure, experts mainly highlight the need to measure and keep track of your waist circumference as abdominal obesity has been shown to increase the risk of developing hypertension significantly.


Tebar, William Rodrigues, et al. “High blood pressure and its relationship to adiposity in a school-aged population: body mass index vs waist circumference.” Hypertension Research 41.2 (2018): 135-140.

Mohammadi, Masoud, and Masoud Mirzaei. “The effect of obesity, abdominal obesity and joint effect of them on high blood pressure in men of Mazandaran Province, Iran (population attributable fraction study): brief report.” Tehran University Medical Journal TUMS Publications 74.10 (2017): 735-740.

Urquidez-Romero, Rene, et al. “Abdominal obesity is strongly associated to blood pressure in young Mexicans.” Nutricion hospitalaria 34.2 (2017): 357-362.

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