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March 1981

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Pathophysiological Alterations

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Hypertensive Diseases, Ochsner Clinic, and the Division of Research, Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation, New Orleans.

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(4):431-434. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340040027012

Obesity is defined as body mass at least 20% greater than ideal weight. According to this definition, between 25% and 45% of the American adult population can be considered obese, the broad variation of this range reflecting age and sex differences of the population.1 This excess in body weight is associated with physiological, hormonal, and metabolic changes that predispose the individual to a variety of clinical disorders and risks that increase the individual's morbidity and mortality.2 This report concerns the possible mechanisms that relate obesity to certain cardiovascular and respiratory alterations, with a particular emphasis on the association between obesity and hypertension.


Arterial Pressure  The Framingham study has clearly demonstrated that the prevalence of hypertension was greater in subjects who were 20% overweight.3 Moreover, the prevalence of hypertension was correlated directly with body weight in adults, as well as in children, and practically every epidemiological

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