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Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

Diabetes and Hypertension

Dealing with high blood pressure

More than one-half of all people with diabetes have a condition called hypertension, defined as blood pressure higher than 140/80 mm Hg. Left untreated, these people could experience heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and even death.Here’s what you need to know to recognize and treat high blood pressure.

Good to Know:

When doctors look at a patient's blood pressure, they consider the top and bottom numbers separately.

  • The top number is known as systolic blood pressure.

  • The bottom number is called diastolic blood pressure.

Did you know?

Many doctors believe that controlling blood pressure is at least as important as controlling blood glucose, because of the serious risk of heart attacks and death.The factors related to high blood pressure may differ for each type of diabetes.

  • High blood pressure is more common in people with type 2 diabetes, who have obesity.

  • In people with type 1 diabetes, high blood pressure tends to affect older individuals and those with underlying kidney disease.

High blood pressure can be related to the development of diabetic complications, such as eye damage, nerve damage or kidney disease.High blood pressure often goes undetected, because many people don't have symptoms.When symptoms of high blood pressure do occur, they might include headaches, chest pain or shortness of breath.

Doctors often recommend the following tips to prevent the progression to hypertension:

  • Meeting with a nutritionist to develop a diet high in fruits and veggies and low in saturated fats and alcohol

  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week

  • Losing weight

  • Taking medication, if blood pressure doesn't improve after three months of lifestyle changes

There are many excellent blood pressure medications for people with diabetes.

  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and ACE inhibitors not only reduce blood pressure, but also reduce the risk of kidney disease and prevent heart attacks.

  • Sometimes, one medication isn't enough, and the doctor will prescribe other medications in addition to ARBs or ACE inhibitors (though ARBs and ACE inhibitors are not typically given together).

 

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