Can weight loss reduce the need for blood pressure medicine?
Answer From Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
If you're overweight, losing even just 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) can lower your blood pressure. The more weight lost, the more blood pressure can drop. As you lose weight, it may be possible to reduce your dose of blood pressure medicine. Or you might be able to stop taking blood pressure medicine completely. Never make changes to your blood pressure medicine on your own, however. Talk to your health care provider first.
Remember, high blood pressure isn't a problem you treat once and then ignore. Even if you're safely able to stop taking blood pressure medicine, it's always important to maintain healthy habits. Here's how:
- Eat a healthy diet high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains and low in salt, trans fats and saturated fats.
- Manage your weight.
- Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
- Don't drink alcohol or limit the amount.
- Quit smoking.
- Try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily.
- Have regular health checkups to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
July 06, 2023
- Whelton PK, et al. 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Hypertension. 2018; doi:10.1161/HYP.0000000000000065.
- 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov. Accessed Nov. 16, 2021.
- DASH eating plan. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan. Accessed Nov. 16, 2021.
- Managing weight to control high blood pressure. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/managing-weight-to-control-high-blood-pressure. Accessed Nov. 16, 2021.
- Lopez-Jimenez F (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Nov. 16, 2021.