Type 2 Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common occurrence in individuals with type 2 diabetes. It’s unclear why there’s such a strong link between the two illnesses, however, the following factors are thought to play a role in both conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Diets high in fat and sodium 
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Inactivity 

When it comes to high blood pressure, there are often no obvious symptoms. Making many people living with it unaware they have it until it is too late. According to a 2013 poll by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), fewer than half of patients at risk for heart disease or type 2 diabetes said they spoke with their doctors about indicators like blood pressure.

When is it High Blood Pressure?

If you have high blood pressure, this implies your blood is rushing too quickly through your heart and blood vessels. Constant high blood pressure wears down the heart muscle and causes it to expand over time. In 2008, 67 percent of Americans ages 20 and above who self-reported diabetes had blood pressure readings of 140/90 millimeters of mercury or higher (mm Hg).

For comparison, a blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal in the general population and in diabetics. What exactly does this mean? The systolic pressure (120) is the first number. As blood rushes through your heart, it exerts the strongest pressure. The diastolic pressure (80) is the second number. When the vessels are relaxed between heartbeats, this is the pressure maintained by the arteries.

Individuals over 20 with blood pressure less than 120/80 should get their blood pressure monitored every two years. Diabetes patients must be more cautious.

Diabetes and High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

According to the ADA, the combination of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes is highly dangerous. Increasing your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Other diabetes-related disorders, such as kidney disease and retinopathy, are more likely to occur if you have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Furthermore, diabetic retinopathy has the potential to cause blindness.

There’s also evidence that chronic high blood pressure can accelerate the onset of cognitive impairments connected with aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. According to the American Heart Association, blood arteries in the brain are especially vulnerable to damage caused by high blood pressure. As a result, putting you at risk of stroke or dementia. 

Uncontrolled diabetes isn’t the sole condition that raises the risk of hypertension. If you have more than one of the following risk factors, your chances of having a heart attack or stroke grow exponentially:

  • Heart disease runs in your family
  • Diet rich in fat and sodium 
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • High cholesterol
  • Older in age
  • Obesity
  • Smoker
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Kidney disease, diabetes, or sleep apnea 

High Blood Pressure Prevention with Diabetes

When it comes to high blood pressure prevention in people living with diabetes, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to lower your levels. For example, adding daily exercise into your routine, choosing healthier eating habits, and eliminating smoking or frequent drinking from your life. 

Not only does adding exercise into your routine help keep your blood pressure down but physical activity can strengthen the heart muscle. Furthermore, it also aids with reducing arterial stiffness which naturally occurs with age. With type 2 diabetes, however, it accelerates the process which exercise can help manage. 

Treatment Options 

While some people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can improve their condition by making lifestyle changes, the majority will need medication. Some individuals may require more than one medicine to control their blood pressure, depending on their overall health. The majority of blood pressure drugs fit into one of the following categories:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diuretics

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