According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure (hypertension). Risks include family history, advancing age, poor diet, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, and being overweight or obese.
Lifestyle changes are a big part of controlling high blood pressure. The main tenets include:
- Following a healthy diet, which may include reducing salt. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is often recommended. In addition to lowering salt intake, DASH is replete with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy. The diet emphasizes whole grains and is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and fiber.
- Exercising regularly.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Keeping stress levels at bay. (Stress can cause us to engage in unhealthy blood pressure-raising behaviors.)
- Drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol.
- Taking your medications as prescribed.
There are many types of prescription medications that can help control blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. These medications may need to be taken for life to maintain their effect.
New research is showing, however, that bariatric surgery can allow obese people taking a lot of antihypertensive medications to cut way back on them. Study subjects’ blood pressure was maintained in the normal range with only one agent or even without drugs.
Within a year, those in a recent trial who had bariatric surgery were more than six times as likely to have cut back on their number of blood pressure (BP) medications by about a third. Half of the surgical patients didn’t need any antihypertensive meds to maintain their BP at healthy levels. On the other hand, all of the “standard-care” patients in the study needed antihypertensive medications to keep BP that low, and half of them needed at least three different ones.
Interestingly, most patients in the gastric-bypass group achieved the primary end point in the first month of the postop period. That seems to indicate that something more is happening beyond just weight loss.
That something is likely to be related, at least in part, to the metabolic changes in the surgery group compared with the control group, which included significant improvements in fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in addition to the lowering of blood pressure.
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are wondering if bariatric surgery might be right for you, schedule an appointment at VIP Surg. Dr. Tsuda and his team can help find the right treatment for your unique situation.