Hypertension: The Silent Killer
Hypertension, also known the “silent killer,” hypertension usually has no signs or symptoms and many people are not aware they have it. High blood pressure increases a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke. It often occurs with diabetes. A blood pressure that is higher than 140/90 needs to be monitored, especially if it occurs with diabetes. A doctor will diagnose a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher as high blood pressure.
Diabetes: The Sugar Killer
Diabetes occurs when blood sugar increases because the body cannot use the glucose properly. This happens when there a problem with insulin levels in the blood.
Hypertension and diabetes: The deadly combo
Studies have found that at least one-third patients with type 1 diabetes also have hypertension. When hypertension and diabetes co-exist, the effects of one disease tend to make the other worse. This makes for a deadly combination. Diabetes does three things that may increase blood pressure:
- Decreasing the blood vessels’ ability to stretch
- Increasing the amount of fluid in the body
- Changing the way the body manages insulin
Hypertension and diabetes generally coexist because they share similar risk factors, including being overweight, following an unhealthy diet, and living an inactive lifestyle. A blood pressure reading of 140/90 is considered normal for most healthy people and those with diabetes. Patients should report any consistent blood pressure readings of 140/90 or higher to their doctors, as these may result in complications.
The combination of hypertension and diabetes can be lethal, and together they can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The chances of having a heart attack or stroke are further multiplied if other risk factors exist, in addition to diabetes.
- Having a family history of heart disease
- Having a high fat or high sodium diet
- Not being active
- Advanced age
- Being overweight
- Over consumption of alcohol
- Low levels of vitamin D or potassium
- Having another chronic condition, such as sleep apnea, kidney disease or inflammatory arthritis.
Lifestyle factors are the best way to lower the risk of high blood pressure and to maintain normal levels. There is a wide body of evidence, which demonstrates that controlling blood pressure in people with diabetes reduces the risk of complications.
Losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference in bringing down blood pressure.
People who live with both hypertension and diabetes should try to be active at least five days a week for at least 30 minutes per day. Regular activity lowers blood pressure and offers many other health benefits.
Nicotine in cigarettes raises blood pressure and heart rate. It also adds stress to the heart and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.People who smoke should make every effort to stop.
Healthy diet choices
People with diabetes should already be closely monitoring their diet in order to maintain blood sugar. They should also limit the amount of salt in cooking and avoid adding salt to food to help maintain blood pressure.
Drinking alcohol in moderation
Reducing alcohol consumption can help control hypertension.The intake of too much alcohol leads to elevated blood pressure. Reducing heavy drinking to the recommended amounts of alcohol decreases the risk of hypertension.