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High Blood Pressure and Diabetes

Diabetes By Dr Poonam Sachdev , Expert Content / Nov 21, 2012
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes

If you have diabetes blood pressure reading above 130/80 mmHg will be considered high and your doctor will recommend medications to treat high blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure and Diabetes

Diabetes increases your risk of developing cardiovascular problems, diabetic eye disease and kidney disease. All these complications of diabetes are worsened if you have hypertension.


[Read: Know about Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes]


Relation between diabetes and hypertension

You do not develop diabetes because you have hypertension but hypertension can worsen many complications in people with diabetes, like heart disease, diabetic eye disease and kidney disease. Many people with diabetes have co-morbid hypertension (almost 60% of people with diabetes have hypertension as well).

Diabetes affects the arteries and leads to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs due to build-up of fatty substances on the inner walls of the arteries, which then narrows the lumen of the arteries. The narrowing of the lumen of the arteries or clogging of the arteries increases the work load of the heart. Atherosclerosis also increases blood pressure, and if the blood pressure is well treated it can lead to blood vessel damage, stroke, heart failure, heart attack, or kidney failure.


Complications of diabetes and hypertension

People with diabetes are at risk of developing complications like

  • Coronary artery disease (heart disease)
  • Strokes
  • Peripheral vascular disease (hardening of the arteries in the legs and feet)
  • Heart failure

And if you have hypertension along with diabetes the risk of developing these complications is increased.


What Should Blood Pressure Be if You Have Diabetes?

The normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg. If your systolic and/or diastolic pressures are more than 140/90 mmHg on several occasions, your doctor may diagnose it as hypertension.

But if you have diabetes or kidney disease, blood pressure reading above 130/80 mmHg will be considered high and your doctor will recommend medications to treat high blood pressure.

If you’re a hypertensive diabetic treatment of high blood pressure is just as important as treating diabetes to prevent diabetes complications.


What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

Most people with hypertension have no signs or symptoms even if their blood pressure is very high. The same is true for people who have hypertension and diabetes. But high blood pressure can do immense harm in people with diabetes like it increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.


[Read: How to Handle High Blood Pressure and Stress]


Hence experts say that all people with diabetes should regularly get evaluated to diagnose hypertension.


How Is High Blood Pressure Treated?

If you have diabetes blood pressure reading above 130/80 mmHg will be considered high and your doctor will recommend medications to treat high blood pressure.

Do not stop or change treatment for high blood pressure without consulting your doctor.

Antihypertensive medications that are preferred in people with diabetes include ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

The ACE inhibitors as compared to other drugs have shown to prevent or delay the progression of kidney disease in diabetics with hypertension in addition to controlling blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is not adequately controlled with one drug your doctor will add another medication.


How Do You Prevent High Blood Pressure?

Besides medications for high blood pressure lifestyle changes that are recommended include:

  • Diet changes- Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods in your diet. Use low fat dairy products. Avoid foods that contain trans fats and saturated fats
  • Limit salt intake to less than 1600mg/day
  • Do exercises regularly


Read more articles on Understand Diabetes




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