Belly Fat and High Blood Pressure are Inexorably Linked
High blood pressure rarely shows up in your body alone. Instead, it usually brings along a dangerous posse of high cholesterol, insulin insensitivity, obesity, and atherosclerosis. Together, this toxic medley represents a huge risk to your health and to your life.
And who – or what – invited all of these symptoms over for a play date? Your belly fat.
High blood pressure and belly fat are inexorably connected. Fat in the stomach falls into two distinct categories: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the “pinchable fat” that resides just below the surface of the skin. Visceral fat lives much deeper inside the midsection and causes chaos throughout the body by snaking around organs and manipulating the body’s hormones.
Science is beginning to tease out the connection between belly fat and high blood pressure. Many doctors believe that visceral fat puts pressure on the kidneys and liver, increasing the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol. This cholesterol can make its way up into the arteries of the heart where it decides to put down roots in the form of thick, waxy plaque. As plaque lines the walls of the heart and arteries, it grows hard and thick forcing the heart to pump harder and harder in order to move blood throughout the body.
The result? You guessed it – high blood pressure. The harder the heart has to work, the more easily it becomes tired and the higher the chance of a heart attack or a stroke.
High blood pressure is the gateway to the lifestyle diseases that currently afflict the population of the western world, diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and metabolic syndrome. Health officials predict that over 70% of adults in the US will die of preventable lifestyle disease.
And it all starts with belly fat.
The best way to lower high blood pressure is to prevent it in the first place. This means tackling your belly fat today.
All the same rules apply to losing belly fat as losing any other fat in the body: eat nutritious meals, exercise and try to relax.
There are many other posts on this website that go into more detail about fitness, nutrition and stress reduction. For now, though, recognize that belly fat and blood pressure are linked. Belly fat leads to high blood pressure which leads to lifestyle disease. Having a spare tire hanging off the front of your body doesn’t only look bad – it has deadly consequences.