Weight loss and blood pressure

Here's another thought with regards to time issues with weight loss: reductions in blood pressure (BP).

The previous post talked about how triglycerides initially go up, sometimes way up, when weight drops, only to be followed months later by substantial drops. HDL initially drops in response to the triglyceride fluctuations, only to be followed by a rise.

Blood pressure also shows a curious pattern that is largely dependent on age.

Say someone in their 20s or 30s, for instance, loses 30 lbs (through elimination of wheat and cornstarch, say). BP usually drops within a few weeks, perhaps a month or two at most.

How about someone in their 70s? Say a substantial amount of weight is lost, say 50 lbs over 6 months. BP does indeed drop, but it may require 6 months or longer after weight plateaus for the full effects of BP-reduction to be fully expressed. But it will eventually drop.

Why the age-dependent difference?

It relates to the capacity of arteries to remain flexible and distensible. Over the years, cross-linking of collagen (a structural protein), glycation (glucose molecules attaching to proteins), loss of endothelial responsiveness to generate artery-dilating substances like nitric oxide, and arterial atherosclerotic plaque all all up to making older arteries less able to "relax" and BP to drop.

But given time and the proper effort, BP will eventually drop. Awareness of this time effect can help most people decide better when medications are necessary or if weight loss alone is sufficient to reach BP goals.

Comments (6) -

  • Jenny

    8/15/2008 4:21:00 PM |

    Thanks for the encouragement.  I have always hoped and believed it was possible for me to control my blood pressure without medication, (without receiving much guidance or encouragement toward that goal from my physician) and while that may not be entirely possible now given my age (62) and fairly long-standing history of hypertension, I have seen good improvement in my readings since becoming stricter with lower carbohydrates, and losing about 20 pounds over 4-5 months.  In light of this topic, would you consider commenting or doing a longer post on the effects of weight loss in older people?  Jenny Ruhl had a post on DiabetesUpdate recently (August 6th, "More Evidence that Weight Loss After 65 Is Dangerous to Your Health") concerning a study that was interpreted to show that weight loss after the age of 65 can have negative impact on health and mortality.  http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/results.php?storyarticle=5975  
    I have also read opinions in the past that are similar, such as that weight loss after 60 may worsen osteoporosis (sorry, unable to cite the source for that).  Judging from my personal experience, my weight loss appears to have had beneficial effects on my BP and lipid profile, but is it possible there is a hidden cost?  Ideally, of course I would have lost weight earlier, or even more ideally, never gained it in the first place, but...!  I feel now that I have maybe 10 or so more pounds to lose to be at an optimal weight, judging from the amount of remaining abdominal fat, but perhaps that is not realistic or desirable at my age.  I have not chosen a number to shoot for, but am instead assuming that by continuing to eat as I am, emphasizing adequate protein and relying more on fats than carbs for energy, getting adequate vitamin D3, and working to keep up my muscle mass, I will naturally arrive at a healthier weight, (plus,now you offer hope that the full effect on my Blood Pressure is still to come!) Surely the assumption that I am promoting my health by losing excess weight through good nutrition practices is not one that would hold true only for a younger person?

  • Roger

    8/16/2008 4:42:00 PM |


    I wasn't sure where to post this comment, but I couldn't find anything on your site about the supposed Vitamin C--CHD connection, promoted by Pauling and Rath.  Googling around has found inconclusive studies and results; some for, some neutral. Perhaps this could be a new thread.  Thanks.  Roger

  • Towards infinity

    8/17/2008 10:06:00 AM |

    To Jenny, sure adding adequate vitamin d is important but don't forget vitamine k2 (as mk-4) and maybe a decent mix of bone building minerals like boron strontium citrate oh and some b12, folic acid etc.

  • Loose weight123

    11/27/2008 11:17:00 AM |

    I saw your site first time it is good and i think you are right we can control our blood pressure without taking any medicine.keep it up.


  • alen mcmilan

    10/11/2010 3:56:07 AM |

    I just accros from your blog and I thought I would have to leave my first comment after reading your great article. I think Many of the people want to know on this.So ,I think this will help them a lot.

  • Aiden

    10/27/2010 8:50:12 AM |

    yes weight is directly proportional to blood pressure, more weight is dangerous for helth! HCG diet , thanks