AHA: Medication and Surgery Help Reduce High-Blood Pressure Effects


Surgical procedures and weight-loss drugs combat high hypertension in individuals who are obese or overweight, according to the American Heart Association.

Surgical procedures and weight-loss medication have shown promise to reduce the long-term effects of hypertension in individuals with are obese or overweight, according to a new scientific statement posted in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal, Hypertension.

Being obese or overweight is defined as weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for an individual’s height.

A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater is considered obesity, and a BMI of 25 to 29 is considered overweight, according to the statement.

“Weight loss achieved through dietary changes and increased physical activity are the cornerstones of treatment for high blood pressure that’s related to being overweight,” Michael Hall, MD, MS, FAHA, an associate division director for cardiovascular diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and chair of the statement-writing group, said in the statement. “The new scientific statement suggests medical and surgical strategies may help with long-term weight and blood pressure improvement, in addition to a heart-healthy diet and physical activity.”

The AHA has previously released statements about the impact of diet, physical activity, and weight control in connection with blood pressure (BP). However, this statement focuses on obesity-related high blood pressure (HBP).

A class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists, synthetic hormones, can help reduce BP and sustain weight loss.

GLP-1 agonists, liraglutide, and semaglutide are self-administered injections for daily or weekly use that reduce appetite and make people feel full, according to the statement.

Both medications are FDA-approved for weight loss and management but were initially approved to treat type 2 diabetes, because they lowered blood sugar and released insulin.

Bariatric, gastric, or metabolic surgery can also help individuals with a BMI of 40 or higher or individuals with a BMI of 35 or higher with obesity-related conditions, including hypertension.

Metabolic surgery resolved HBP in 63% of individuals and shows less use of BP medications after surgery, according to the statement’s research review.

The statement includes gaps in research data and questions to prevent and treat hypertension related to obesity.

“There are still many unanswered questions and many opportunities for research that can help people live healthier, longer,” Hall said.


Meds, surgery may help obesity-related high blood pressure if diet, exercise fall short. EurekAlert. News release. September 20, 2021. Accessed on September 20, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/928527

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