Diabetes and Hypertension | The Lethal Combination
Hypertension (high blood pressure) often affects people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Having these conditions together can make them both worse.
Hypertension is also known as the “silent killer”. This is because it usually has no signs or symptoms and many people are not aware they have it.
A blood pressure higher than 140/90 needs to be monitored, especially if you are a diabetic. High blood pressure can increase a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack and is quite often an occurrence with diabetes.
Before we move further, let’s break down blood pressure for you:
It is measured in millimeters of mercury and can be assessed with the help of a blood pressure monitor.
What are the 2 numbers: A normal BP is 120/80. The first number refers to systolic BP or the highest level of pressure during a heartbeat and the second is diastolic and points to the lowest level.
If your reading is between 120 and 139 for systolic pressure and between 80 and 89 for diastolic pressure, your condition is considered pre-hypertension. For readings of 140/90 mm Hg or higher the condition is considered high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension is a condition that can be controlled with a healthy lifestyle. This includes exercise, low fat and low sodium diet and overall management of your health. If necessary, even by using medication.
As per various studies, at least 1 out of 3 patients with diabetes type 1 were found to have hypertension.
The effect of any one of this disease makes the other worse.
3 things diabetes does to your increase blood pressure:
- Decrease ability of blood vessels to stretch
- Increases the amount of fluid in the body
- Changes the way your body manages insulin
Hypertension and diabetes generally share similar risk factors, including being overweight, following an unhealthy diet, and living an inactive lifestyle.
If you do find your blood pressure of the normal mark, consult your doctor to avoid complications.
The combination can be lethal, and together can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Having both conditions can also put you at risk of kidney disease and problems in the blood vessels of the eyes, which could lead to blindness.
The chances of having health complications are further multiplied if other risk factors exist, in addition to diabetes, such as:
- Having a family history of heart disease
- Regular stress
- Consuming high fat or high sodium diet
- Being inactive
- Being overweight
- Regular smoking
- Over-consumption of alcohol
- Low levels of potassium
- Having other conditions like kidney disease or inflammatory arthritis
Lifestyle management is the best way to lower the risk of high blood pressure and to maintain normal levels.
Losing even a small amount of weight can make a huge difference in bringing down blood pressure.
People who live with both the conditions should try to be active at least five days a week. Also closely monitor your diet and blood sugar levels. Keep a Control D Glucometer handy to know when sugar levels get out of control.
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