Excess weight can cause hypertension, or high blood pressure. Obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic and is having a substantial negative impact of cardiovascular health and blood pressure. When elevated blood pressure is present, it puts people at risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Excess weight places a strain on the heart, causing it to work harder. Although a physician can prescribe medications to reduce blood pressure, most health care providers prefer to initially try to reduce high blood pressure with diet and exercise first.