People battling diabetes are already aware that they have to take special precautions with their blood sugar. However, they are usually unaware of an additional, often silent, issue that goes hand-in-hand with diabetes – Hypertension.
Hypertension and Diabetes Risks
Hypertension occurs in almost two-third of diabetic patients. The risk for heart disease doubles in people battling both diabetes and hypertension compared to people battling either one of these problems.
There’s no doubt that high blood pressure and diabetes are a dangerous duo. Both these health conditions are quite common and are, in some way or another, linked to obesity. Nearly fifty percent of individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes also have hypertension.
What Is Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure/hypertension is when blood is being pumped through arteries at a higher pressure than normal. If left untreated, hypertension can enlarge and tire the heart muscles.
While readings are variable, the recommended blood pressure for diabetic patients should be no more than 130/80. The higher number indicates the systolic pressure or the pressure of blood in your arteries that is created when the heart fills the vessels with blood. The lower number is the diastolic pressure. It’s the pressure of your blood while your heart is at rest.
It is recommended, even for healthy people, to get their blood pressure checked at least once every two years. However, for people with diabetes, the number increases to four times a year.
Risk Factors Associated With High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
Why should people with diabetes be more cautious with hypertension? Well, it’s important to understand that type 2 diabetes results from resistance to insulin. Insulin is the hormone in our body that helps blood sugar to convert into energy. However, the bodies of type 2 diabetes patients resist insulin. This causes blood sugar levels to rise to unhealthy levels.
This causes their bodies to produce more insulin. The excess insulin can then retain fluids and salts. It’s one of many ways in which diabetes can increase your risk for hypertension. Diabetes can also stiffen the walls of major blood vessels and damage the small blood vessels entirely. Stiff or damaged blood vessels can increase the pressure of the blood in veins causing high blood pressure.
The combination of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can drastically increase the risk of having a heart stroke or attack. This combo also increases the chances of developing other diabetes-related health problems, including retinopathy and kidney disease.
Fighting diabetes, hypertension, or both is manageable, but it takes two people to work simultaneously, a reliable doctor and their patient.
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