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Abdominal obesity raises hypertension risk

People with abdominal obesity are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) in future.

Abdominal obesity raises hypertension risk

People with abdominal obesity are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) in future. Researchers from the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan found that people with large waistlines show an increase in the blood pressure. There's no single definition of abdominal obesity, but in general, the waist sizes used to define metabolic syndrome are 35 inches or more for women and 40 inches or more for men. The research showed that "apple-shaped" people are at greater risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes than those who have extra weight on the hips and thighs. Previous studies have also suggested that general obesity raises the risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension. But it is not clear whether abdominal obesity, per se, can cause hypertension. The researchers followed 2,377 men and women of age 30 years for 10 years, during which one-quarter developed high blood pressure. Those with large waistlines at the outset had a higher risk than their slimmer counterparts, as did people who became abdominally obese during the study period. Even in a group of healthy adults ages 30 to 43 years, the researchers found that those whose waistlines expanded also saw their blood pressure increase. Abdominal obesity often exists as part of a cluster of conditions known collectively as metabolic syndrome -- the other components being abnormal cholesterol levels, hypertension and insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. It's a complex collection of heart risks, and it's not fully clear which problem might cause the others. But the current findings support the theory that abdominal obesity is the true culprit that spurs the development of insulin resistance followed by other components of metabolic syndrome. The findings suggest that abdominal obesity predicts hypertension regardless of a person's current blood pressure or overall body weight, hence is it is important to prevent abdominal obesity and not just obesity.
American Journal of Hypertension,
September 2006
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