Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
People suffering from type 2 diabetes are also usually affected with high blood pressure. Actually 2 in 3 diabetics will have hypertension too. The scientific reason behind this association between the two is yet to be established. However, it is widely believed that someone who has high body fat content, is obese, eats high-sodium diet or follows a sedentary lifestyle are vulnerable to both these conditions.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is deadlier than you think because it has no visible signs or symptoms. If you are suffering from hypertension, then it means that your heart and blood vessels are pumping blood with excessive force that can eventually stress the heart muscles. For a healthy individual below 60 years, the blood pressure should be no more than 140/90, to avoid starting on blood pressure lowering medications; for older people the goal is <150/90. However, if you are suffering from diabetes, doctors recommend that your blood pressure should not exceed 140/90 irrespective of your age.
For a healthy individual, it is important to check the blood pressure several times a year. However, diabetics must be more careful and have their blood pressure checked at least four times in a given year. You can also keep a machine at home to self-monitor and keep a track of all the readings. Next time you visit your doctor, be sure to share these readings for an informed diagnosis.
What are the risk factors?
Needless to say, diabetes along with hypertension cannot be good for the body. In fact, they can be highly lethal as they significantly increase the risk of heart attack or a stroke. Not only that, you are also exposed to other diabetes related diseases, such as kidney disease or blindness caused due to damage to the retinal blood vessels, if you have high blood pressure along with type 2 diabetes.
According to various researchers, it has been proven that persistent hypertension can also make you susceptible to other health conditions associated with aging such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and is the quickest way to expose you to the risk of stroke and heart conditions. This is mainly caused due to blood vessels that supply the brain that get clogged with fatty deposits.
There are many reasons that can contribute to hypertension, apart from diabetes. You are drastically exposed to the risk of heart stroke or a heart attack if you have stress, obesity, addiction to smoking, inactive lifestyle, high sodium diet, family history of heart disease, excessive consumption of alcohol, lack of vitamin D, or other illnesses such as sleep apnea.
How to prevent hypertension with diabetes?
People with diabetes must consciously make an effort to keep their blood pressure levels in control. If you are serious about taking control of your life and health, then making small lifestyle changes can go a long way in maintaining your blood pressure. Usually dietary changes alone can have a significant impact on your health, but adding an exercise routine on a daily basis is highly recommended by the doctors. Not only does physical activity lower your blood pressure, but also strengthens your heart muscle. Walking briskly for 30 minutes every day makes your heart strong and healthy. People with type 2 diabetes often have stiff arteries. This can be improved with 30–40 minutes of daily physical activity.
If you are suffering from diabetes, it is recommended to undergo blood test from time to time so that your doctor can identify potential health hazards. You can also work with your doctor to come up with an exercise plan that is most suitable to your physical conditions. Start small like 5–10 minutes of brisk walking and make small changes such as taking the stairs instead of elevators and consciously eating a balanced diet.
Improving your eating habits, such as eliminating high sugary foods and beverages from your diet, cutting out excessive salt, fatty foods and dairy products can really go a long way in improving your overall health and not just hypertension and diabetes.
Hypertension with diabetes can be incredibly risky and may culminate into more serious conditions. The only cure for these complications is prevention. This is why it is important to go for diabetes test and blood pressure check, and adopt a healthy and stress-free lifestyle complete with balanced diet, exercise, yoga and meditation.