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High blood pressure and obesity

BMJ Group Medical Reference

When doctors measure your blood pressure, they describe it using two numbers. If the first number is above 140 or the second number is above 90, your blood pressure is too high.

Doctors sometimes call this condition hypertension. It can lead to heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, or a stroke.

To find out more, see our articles on high blood pressure.

There is a link between obesity and high blood pressure. [46] [47]

  • People who are obese are twice as likely to have high blood pressure as people who are at a healthy weight. [48]

  • If you lose weight, your blood pressure will usually drop. See Losing weight in our section on high blood pressure. [21]

  • Doctors aren't sure why obesity causes high blood pressure. [49]


blood pressure

Blood pressure is the amount of force that's exerted by your blood on to your blood vessels. You can think of it like the water pressure in your home: the more pressure you have, the faster and more forcefully the water flows out of the shower. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (written as mm Hg). When your blood pressure is taken, the measurement is given as two numbers, for example 120/80 mm Hg. The first, higher, number is called the systolic pressure, and the second, lower, number is the diastolic pressure. The systolic number is the highest pressure that occurs while your heart is pushing blood into your arteries. The diastolic number is the lowest pressure that happens when your heart is relaxing and is not pushing your blood.

heart disease

You get heart disease when your heart isn't able to pump blood as well as it should. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

heart failure

When the heart loses its ability to push enough blood through the blood vessels, it is called heart failure.

kidney disease

Your kidneys are the organs in your body that make urine. Kidney diseases are diseases in which your kidneys have been damaged. Kidney disease can be caused by several things, including high blood pressure (hypertension).


If your body stores more energy than you need, this can make you overweight. The excess energy is stored in your fat cells. If your weight goes above a certain level, doctors call this obesity. Obesity is considered a medical condition. The excess weight can be a strain on your bones and joints. And if you are obese, you're more likely to get other diseases. Doctors have developed a scale for telling how much excess weight you have. This measure, called the body mass index (BMI), depends on your height.


You have a stroke when the blood supply to a part of your brain is cut off. This damages your brain and can cause symptoms like weakness or numbness on one side of your body. You may also find it hard to speak if you've had a stroke.

For more terms related to Obesity


For references related to Obesity click here.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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