Diabetes and blood pressure

It is helpful to have a basic understanding of high blood pressure before reading this article on high blood pressure with diabetes. Learn more about hypertension.

Studies have shown that people with both diabetes and high blood pressure have twice the risk for cardiovascular disease as non-diabetics who have high blood pressure. High blood pressure also significantly increases the risk for kidney disease, diabetic eye disease, and neuropathy. A large national survey found that about 71% of people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. The goal of treatment for diabetics is blood pressure less than 130/80. This is the level at which there is the greatest reduction in cardiovascular mortality. Unfortunately, the survey also found that 29% of the diabetics were unaware of their diagnosis of high blood pressure, 43% of the diabetics were untreated, 55% of those receiving treatment still had pressures equal to or greater than 140/90, and only 12% of those treated had blood pressures less than 130/85 – which is still too high of a diastolic number.

Treatment for high blood pressure needs to be aggressive. For those diagnosed with blood pressure 130-139 over 80-89 treatment for three months with lifestyle changes is appropriate. If there is no improvement, then medication can be added. Those diagnosed with blood pressure of 140 or more over 90 or more should be treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.

Lifestyle changes that have been shown to decrease blood pressure include salt restriction, weight loss if needed, increased physical activity, smoking cessation, and moderation of alcohol consumption.