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Obesity, Hypertension, and the Heart

      ABSTRACT

      Hypertension occurs more commonly in obese than in lean persons at virtually every age. A variety of endocrine, genetic, and metabolic mechanisms have been linked to the development of obesity hypertension. These include insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, increased serum aldosterone levels, salt sensitivity and expanded plasma volume in the presence of increased peripheral vascular resistance, a genetic predisposition, and possibly increased leptin levels. Pressure and volume overload are present in obese hypertensives. This leads to a mixed eccentric-concentric form of left ventricular hypertrophy and increases the predisposition to congestive heart failure. Weight loss, even in modest decrements, is effective in reducing obesity-hypertension, possibly by ameliorating several of the proposed pathophysiologic mechanisms. There are currently no specific recommendations concerning pharmacotherapy of obesity-hypertension because each drug group has pros and cons.

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