Blood pressure risk increases with small weight gain (even five pounds): Study

Blood pressure risk increases with small weight gainDropping five pounds can make a difference to your health.

Those small fluctuations in weight could be doing you harm. So before you brush off that snug waistband, you should know that a small increase in weight is bad for your blood pressure.

Why those few extra points raise your blood pressure?


Chronic stress can push blood pressure numbers up into danger territory, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA), your weight also plays a big role.

Along these lines, new research from the Mayo Clinic has found that as few as five extra pounds can spike your blood pressure, even if you are otherwise healthy. This is something you’ll want to keep in mind the next time you go on vacation – when we’re more likely to eat more of the not-so-healthy types of food.

“This is an important finding because a five to seven pound weight gain may be normal for many during the holiday season, the first year of college, or even while on vacation,” study lead author Naima Covassin said.

The study was presented at the AHA’s High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2014.

Blood pressure increase related to increase in abdominal fat

Covassin’s team began by testing the blood pressure of 16 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 48. Over the study duration of eight weeks, those adults ate an extra 400 to 1,200 calories daily, adding in a chocolate bar, an energy drink, or an ice cream shake every day. The goal was to increase their weight by about five percent. At the same time, another 10 healthy adults maintained their weight for the study period.

Eight weeks later, the researchers repeated the blood pressure test. They found those who gained weight during those two months had an average increase in systolic blood pressure from 114 mm Hg to 118 mm Hg. Their blood sugar levels, insulin, and cholesterol didn’t change.

As well, the study participants who gained more weight around their abdomen had higher average increases in blood pressure.

“To our knowledge, for the first time, we showed that the blood pressure increase was specifically related to increases in abdominal visceral fat, which is the fat inside the abdomen,” Covassin said. “Our research suggests that healthy people who are more likely to gain weight in the stomach area are also more likely to have their blood pressure increased.”
Abdominal fat (love handles) linked to metabolic disturbances

Weight is certainly an important factor when it comes to our health. Even slight weight gains have been the focus of numerous studies. Abdominal fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and plays a key role in a variety of health problems.


Harvard reports that just a few extra pounds can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It has been tied to increased breast cancer risk for women, along with an increased need for gallbladder surgery.

Tips to manage your weight for healthy blood pressure

Losing weight may seem like a daunting task, especially if you are older, but here are some words of advice, which can help you drop those extra five pounds.

  • Consume foods higher in fiber
  • Eat whole grains and avoid processed starches
  • Limit serving sizes
  • Keep a food diary so you can track what you eat along with why you are eating it. For example, do you opt for fatty snacks while watching TV? Recognizing these bad habits can help you break them
  • Exercise regularly

Hanging onto extra weight, even a few pounds, is bad for your blood pressure and your overall health, too.


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