Overweight people can reduce hypertension by following a reduced calorie diet, researchers claim.
Some 210 overweight men and women, aged between 29 and 65, who suffered from hypertension took part in the study in Italy.
Each candidate had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2, and received an individualised reduced calorie diet.
Some 50% of the patients were also treated with orlistat, a medicine used with a low calorie diet to help weight loss.
After six months, 49% of the women and 53% of the men had lost the necessary amount of weight.
Lead investigator Robert Fogari said: "This is important because it means that in these patients with elevated blood pressure who were overweight, the blood pressure was not a form of essential hypertension but was hypertension secondary to body weight."
The findings only apply to overweight people with high blood pressure, not those who are clinically obese, he said.
Mr Fogari also stressed the need for overweight patients to be given advice on losing weight before being prescribed drugs to reduce hypertension.
Researchers presented the study at the American Heart Association's 61st Annual Fall Conference of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research.
"Tackling all lifestyle issues should be considered before prescribing any drugs. Obesity is responsible for many of today's health problems - diabetes, hypertension, joint and muscle pains and probably contributes to mental ill health" - Name and address supplied
"Absolutely! This is not only cost effective, but patients and prescribers often are not considering polypharmacy, adherance and potential side effect issues." - Name and address supplied
"ABSOLUTELY! But not by dieting - rather by changing their attitude to eating and improving knowledge of nutrition. NLP/counselling/etc" - Name and address supplied