Obesity advocates defend their stance by pointing out they have low blood pressure while many thin people have high blood pressure.
Why is it that thin people can have very high blood pressure while obese people may have normal blood pressure – even though obesity is a risk factor for this “silent killer”?
“Hypertension – is a state of increased blood pressure in the arteries,” says Natasha Fuksina, MD, an internal medicine and obesity specialist who combines traditional, integrative and functional medicine to restore health and function.
“It depends on the amount of blood pumped out of the heart against the resistance to blood flow in the arteries.
“For majority of people the cause of high blood pressure is not identified, and hypertension develops gradually over the course of years.
“Therefore, thin people as well as people with obesity can get it. This type of hypertension is called primary (essential) and is not dependent on someone’s weight.
“Some people develop secondary hypertension, for example, due to kidney problems or thyroid problems.
“We do know that there are many risk factors to hypertension such as age, obesity, being sedentary, family history, stress, etc.”
Additional Causes of High Blood Pressure
• Highly processed, high sodium diet
• Untreated sleep apnea (which can affect thin people due to natural throat structures such as a large tongue base and small jaw)
“So, a thin person with, for example, family history of hypertension and a highly stressful job, may have hypertension, while a person with obesity may have normal blood pressure,” says Dr. Fuksina.
“Regular medical checkups help diagnose hypertension at early stages before significant damage such as heart attack or stroke develop.”
Dr. Fuksina is the founder of astraMDhealth, which includes telemedicine. Double board certified in internal and obesity medicine, she focuses on a personalized approach, including metabolism and genetic makeup, to customize treatments and preventive care.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.