you realize you might be suffering from high blood pressure
(hypertension) and not even know it? High blood pressure usually
causes no symptoms until complications develop, such as a heart
attack or a stroke -- that's why it's referred to as the "silent
Exercise and dietary adjustments can usually keep this dangerous
condition under control, and evidence suggests that weight
loss and gain may also play a role. A recent study in the
Annals of Internal Medicine tracked 82,473 U.S. female
nurses from 1976-1992, calculating weight loss or gain every
two years and noting all cases of physician-diagnosed high
Results showed that weight gain dramatically increased the
risk for high blood pressure, whereas long-term weight loss
reduced the risk. These associations were stronger in younger
women (less than 45 years of age) than older women (more than
55 years of age).
So what's the moral to this story? First, make sure you
get your blood pressure checked regularly. The earlier you
discover the problem, the faster you can start doing something
about it. Second, avoid excess weight gain by maintaining
an active lifestyle and following a sensible diet. And third,
consult your doctor for more information.
Huang Z, Willett WC, Manson JE. Body weight, weight change,
and risk for hypertension in women. Annals of Internal
Medicine, January 1998: Vol. 128, No. 12, pp81-88.