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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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Modest Weight Loss Cuts Hypertension

Losing a Little Extra Weight May Make a Difference in Lowering High Blood Pressure, Study Shows
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 1, 2007 -- Got high blood pressure? If you're overweight, modest weight loss might bring your blood pressure down to normal.

Italian researchers reported that news in Tucson at the American Heart Association's 61st Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research.

The University of Pavia's Roberto Fogari, MD, and colleagues asked 220 overweight (but not obese) men and women with stage 1 hypertension to lose at least 5% of their body weight in 6 months.

People with stage 1 hypertension have blood pressure that ranges from 140-159 for systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading) and 90-99 for diastolic blood pressure (the second number in a blood pressure reading).

Normal blood pressure is systolic blood pressure of less than 120 and diastolic blood pressure of less than 80.

Fogari's team gave the patients diet advice. Some of the patients also got the weight loss drug Xenical.

By 6 months, 59% of the women and 53% of the men in the study had met the weight loss goal of shedding at least 5% of their body weight.

A little more than half (52%) of those who met the weight loss goal also got their blood pressure down into the normal range, Fogari tells WebMD.

The bottom line: It didn't take a whole lot of weight loss to curb high blood pressure.

Roughly a third of U.S. adults have high blood pressure and many of them don't know it, according to the American Heart Association. Don't know your blood pressure? A simple test can tell you where you stand.

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