Manage Your Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

An increased risk of suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure as well as kidney disease, nerve damage and stroke affect individuals who do not properly manage blood glucose levels. Almost 80 percent of people suffering from type 2 diabetes and 25 percent of those with type 1 diabetes will struggle with moderating high blood pressure during the course of their diabetic condition.

Doctors consider a blood pressure below 130 over 80 to be optimal. A blood pressure of 140 over 90 is a sign of pre-hypertension, while blood pressures higher than 140 over 90 are labeled as too high.

Defining High Blood Pressure

When a doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure, this means that the force of blood flowing through your vessels is too strong. In other words, your heart needs to work harder than normal to keep blood flow moving throughout the body. When the heart is constantly under pressure to push blood in and out of arteries and veins, it cannot relax in between beats as it is allowed to do in a healthy body.

As a result, the possibility of diseases affecting the body increases due to an overworked heart muscle, as well as compromised arteries and veins. Common medical conditions emerging from untreated high blood pressure combined with diabetes, include:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral nerve damage
  • Glaucoma
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Dementia or other cognitive impairment
  • Kidney failure
  • Erectile dysfunction

Most of the time, people do not know they have high blood pressure unless a routine physical examination discovers it. Symptoms may include persistent headache, vision problems or dizziness, but these symptoms are generally not experienced until blood pressure has risen to a dangerously high level greater than 170/110.

Watch the video and learn the effects of blood pressure in diabetes.

Diabetes and High Blood Pressure as Self-Reinforcers

The majority of people diagnosed with diabetes are overweight, eat a diet high in fats and sugars and have a sedentary lifestyle. Older individuals often develop diabetes because of changes in metabolism due to the aging process, which cause them to gain weight, become less mobile and store fat deposits instead of burn them. These habits also facilitate the occurrence of high blood pressure as well, which can directly affect pancreatic production and release of insulin. Unless treatment is initiated, both of these diseases will feed off each other, worsening each other and creating a dangerous scenario within the body.

Treatment for Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

A commonly prescribed medication for diabetics suffering from high blood pressure is an angiotensin receptor blocker, or ACE inhibitor. This medication greatly reduces the ability of the enzyme ACE to counteract release of angiotensin II, a substance promoting vasoconstriction, or narrowing of blood vessels. As a result, ACE inhibitors effectively treat high blood pressure and alleviate the burden placed on the heart to pump blood through constricted vessels.

Most diabetics tolerate ACE inhibitors well, but some may experience common side effects such as:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Blood pressure that is too low
  • Weakness and/or drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Skin rash
  • Salty or metallic taste in the mouth

Coughing is the most frequently reported symptom, with some patients experiencing coughing spells for up to 20 or 30 days before finally disappearing, a side effect that can be tolerated as opposed to the life-threatening effects of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Diabetics who are pregnant or suffer from bilateral renal artery narrowing should not take ACE inhibitors as birth defects and kidney failure can occur.

Improving Diabetes and High Blood Pressure With a Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to taking medications, diabetics need to consume a diet implementing these recommendations that can effectively reduce blood pressure as well as regulate blood glucose:

  • Eat at least one serving of fresh fruits and vegetables with every meal.
  • Use fat-free dairy products.
  • Eat whole grain breads and cereals.
  • Reduce meat fats by removing skin and eating only extra lean beef.
  • Broil, bake or roast your foods. Never fry them.
  • Use salt substitutes instead of regular table salt or choose spices and herbs to flavor food.

By remaining vigilant regarding diabetes and high blood pressure, diabetics do not need to suffer from the potentially debilitating consequences of unregulated blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. Medication, physical activity and a healthy diet all work together to improve the quality of life for all diabetics.

Related News in:

1. High blood pressure: sugar to blame?

2. Blood Sugar Control, Strokes, and Diabetes


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