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Bariatric Surgery Will Help Your Blood Pressure Plummet

If you are obese and taking medications for hypertension, there might be a more successful way to keep your blood pressure down: bariatric surgery. That’s according to a new study published by the American College of Cardiology.

Weight Loss Is the Most Effective High Blood Pressure Cure

Researchers followed 100 people, 76 percent of them women, for five years. All were obese and had high blood pressure. All took at least two medications for that hypertension. None were Type II diabetic or had had heart issues in the past.

Each participant took blood pressure meds alone, or took them and had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

At the end of five years, researchers found a stark difference between the two groups.

  • Fewer meds. Nearly 81 percent of those who had surgery plus meds were able to take fewer medications, versus 14 percent for the meds-only group. Most were able to cut their hypertension med doses in half.
  • Or no meds at all. 7 percent of those who had surgery plus meds no longer needed blood pressure meds, versus 2.4 percent of medication-only patients.
  • And thinner. Patients’ body mass index, or BMI, dropped to 28 for those who had surgery and meds, 36 for the meds-only group.

Since 42 percent of Americans are obese, and close to half have hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this method of blood pressure reduction can benefit a lot of people.

Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for many cardiovascular issues. If your numbers are consistently high, you are more likely to have a stroke or heart attack, and to develop heart failure.

Other Notable Surgery-Hypertension Connections

The study, together with a history of bariatric surgery successes, reveals other information, too.

  • Youth counts. While the surgery-medicine combo helped participants across the board, younger patients fare best. That’s because younger people often have high blood pressure only because they are obese. The extra weight causes their hearts to work harder than necessary. Those more senior might have some level of high blood pressure no matter what; blood pressure tends to rise with age.
  • Drug counseling. Several new weight-loss drugs are on the market, and they too might help you lose weight and keep it off. This study didn’t examine that as an option. However, the researchers question whether patients will stick with the pharmaceutical option for the long-term, or if they might decide to stop taking them.
  • Surgery equals success. Don’t be concerned about the danger of having weight-loss surgery if you have high blood pressure. In medical speak, the two aren’t contraindicated. In reality, losing a lot of weight will lower your blood pressure so, in the end, you’ll be healthier.
  • Any bariatric procedure will work. Roux-en-Y was the only weight-loss surgery used in this study. However, any of the available procedures will provide similar blood pressure results.
  • Bid those meds a fond farewell. Even if your hypertension medications work well for you, you’re likely to have unpleasant side effects. In addition to nausea, drowsiness, constipation and blurred vision, you might develop sexual dysfunction. Men are known to have lowered libido and erectile challenges because of these formulas.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

If you’re obese and need hypertension medications to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, talk to your primary care doctor about the possibility of weight-loss surgery. Ask for a referral so your insurance will cover a visit to a bariatric surgeon, who will share more information.

That is Step 1. If surgery seems like a good fit for you, explore the various procedures so you can choose the one that best fits your lifestyle, challenges and goals.

Bariatric surgery is a proven way to lose weight and keep it off, and most people’s blood pressure lowers as they get leaner. It is a solution for high blood pressure that does not involve taking many pills every day. The results of this study send a strong message: Bariatric surgery can cure both obesity and high blood pressure at once, and, when it doesn’t, it can at least cure obesity and lower blood pressure significantly.

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