Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Does weight loss help reduce blood pressure?"

ZocdocAnswersDoes weight loss help reduce blood pressure?


Can I really lower my blood pressure by losing weight? I know the two are associated, but I didn't realize until recently that they're so closely related. If my systolic BP is 170, what would you predict it to reach if I drop my BMI to 'normal'?


As high blood pressure (hypertension) is a problem affecting more than 50 millions Americans, there have been countless studies performed to evaluate various methods for lowering blood pressure and thereby decreasing the risk of future cardiovascular disease. These studies have shown a definitive connection between weight loss and improved blood pressure. Loss of approximately 18 pounds has been shown to lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by about 8 points and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by about 6 points. These changes have been shown to increase when weight loss is combined with a healthy well-rounded diet (specifically one rich in high-fiber fruits and vegetables) and regular aerobic exercise. If your systolic blood pressure is 170, chances are that you will see an expected drop in blood pressure with effective weight loss and improvement in your BMI. However, given that your blood pressure is already elevated to this high level, it is likely that your primary care physician will choose to use medications in addition to instructing weight loss and improved diet.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.