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Weight loss and blood pressure

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:08pm
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.
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