Why high blood pressure is a big risk for those with diabetes:
- Blood pressure is the pressure against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through them.
- Blood pressure is measured in two ways: Systolic pressure is the blood pressure when the heart is beating or contracting. Diastolic pressure is the blood pressure between beats when the heart is at rest. The systolic reading is usually written before the diastolic, and is measured in something called millimeters of mercury, for example 120/80mm Hg.
- People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure: 3 in 10 people with Type 1 diabetes and 8 in 10 people with Type 2 diabetes develop high blood pressure at some stage.
- The risk is increased if you are overweight, eat a lot of salt, don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, don’t exercise a lot, or drink alcohol excessively. You’re also at greater risk if you have a family history of high blood pressure.
- Healthy lifestyle changes are essential in treating high blood pressure, but medication is often necessary if you have diabetes and your blood pressure remains at 140/80mm Hg or higher.
- If blood pressure remains high over an extended period of time, it can damage the organs of the body, causing heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease.
- Diabetic related conditions like retinopathy (damage to the back of eye) and nephropathy (damage to the kidneys) are more likely in people who have both diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Generally, a blood pressure reading of 140/80 mm Hg or higher is considered high for anyone with diabetes.
- Blood pressure is higher when you’re anxious, stressed or have just been exercising.
- High blood pressure itself has no known symptoms, so can go undetected unless checked regularly. A single test can’t diagnose high blood pressure – you have to have a series of tests (when relaxed) for a real diagnosis. Get tested today!