Body-mass index is the most popular method of determining whether a person is overweight or underweight. By taking the body mass and dividing it by the square of the body’s weight, you can get a good picture of how someone’s weight matches up to their height. Taller people will weigh more, which is why height is taken into account. In this article, we will take a closer look at the importance of body-mass index and how it affects your blood pressure.
How High Is A Healthy BMI?
If you want to figure out your BMI, and you don’t like math, you can always use this handy calculator. Not only does it allow you to calculate your BMI easily, but it has a chart that tells you where you fall on the scale. A normal BMI should be somewhere between 18.5 and 24.9, according to this chart. However, we need a second opinion for verification.
According to these statistics from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the numbers from the previous chart were accurate. Both charts also agree that a BMI of 30 or above is considered to be obese. Most other sources seem to agree on these numbers, so we should be able to trust them.
How Bad Is The Obesity Problem?
BMI is used as a general indicator of obesity. As such, BMI data gives us a way to examine trends and figures on the national level. In this way, we can figure out just how bad the obesity problem might be. Bear in mind that we have no wish to judge those who are overweight, but only to encourage them to live a healthier life.
According to these numbers from 2010, about 35% of the U.S. Population is above the obesity line, with women showing slightly higher numbers than men. A similar study performed on children was less conclusive, as the numbers varied considerably from group to group.
BMI Affects Blood Pressure
There is no doubt that high BMI is very bad for your health. There are several types of problems that can result from obesity, but one of the biggest is an increase in blood pressure. First, let’s look for some evidence to show us just how much a difference BMI will make in terms of your blood pressure.
This study provides the evidence we need. Researchers found that obese individuals were also at higher risk for hypertension problems.
All of this is closely related. When there is a higher percentage of fat in the body, some of that fat tends makes its way into the blood. These fat cells, also known as lipoproteins, tend to accumulate on the walls of the arteries. This accumulation means that the body is now dealing with a constricted artery. Now it has to pump the same amount of blood through a smaller space. So, what happens if you take a water filter pump and decrease the size of the tubing? The water pressure will increase. Blood works in the same way.
When the blood pressure is high, it means that the heart is pumping harder than it would typically have to do. This is why individuals with a high-BMI are at higher risk for heart disease, hypertension, and various cardiovascular issues. The human heart simply isn’t meant to work that hard, and forcing it to work that hard can lead to failure.
This study is even more revealing. It confirmed the link between obesity and hypertension and found that a sudden change in BMI will produce a quick and corresponding change in blood pressure. The effect was most noticeable in older patients but was observed for all test subjects. This tells us that a high BMI doesn’t need much time to raise your blood pressure. The change happens very quickly, indeed.
More Dangerous Effects Of A High BMI
Due to all the above factors and more, a high BMI is associated with increased risk of early death. For instance, let’s take a look at another study. This one is very revealing, and also a little bit disturbing. They found that high BMI increased the risk of death from many different causes. Mainly, those with high BMI were more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.
Although there were significant variations between various ethnic groups, the overall trend shows a much higher risk of early death for those with a BMI of 30 or higher. Test subjects who smoked or had pre-existing diseases were also at much higher risk than the others.
Quite a few other studies have drawn a link between obesity and mortality, including this one. Here, we see that the researchers looked not only at the current weight of the test subject but at their weight ratios over 24 years. Even when averaging out for variations and other causes, they still found that obese people had a reduced life expectancy.
There are many good reasons to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI. Carrying extra weight on your body can negatively affect your health in a number of ways. Blood pressure is just one of the problems that can result, but (as you can see) it is definitely one of the most serious problems.
High blood pressure is associated with a shortened life expectancy, so don’t let that high BMI take away your ability to live freely. If we have inspired you to work for a healthier lifestyle, then we will have done our job. We hope that you will follow us on Facebook so that we can teach you even more.