High blood pressure is very common in diabetic patients. Although it is not exactly known why these two conditions coexist, high blood pressure accelerates the blood vessels damage caused by high glucose, putting diabetics at risk for many serious diabetes-related complications. That is why it is vital to monitor and control blood pressure if you have diabetes, and not to allow it raise higher than 130/80.
Steps to take for blood pressure control include:
Weight loss. Losing even a small amount of weight can make a huge difference in blood pressure and other physical health parameters. Excess weight puts strain on the heart, and excess fat promotes the release of hormones that cause the blood pressure to rise, all of which can result in cardiovascular disease.
Physical activity. Engagement in sports is like an extended-release medication. Any time you are physically active, your blood pressure lowers for 24 hours, and the body starts using insulin more effectively, thus lowering blood sugar.
Salt intake. Salt causes the body to retain water, which leads to elevated blood pressure. Limit the amount of salt in cooking and cut the processed foods from your diet to help maintain healthy blood pressure.
Diet. Healthy choices maintained over a lifetime are the most helpful. Diet for diabetics rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories, helps control both blood pressure and blood sugar.
Alcohol. Too much alcohol consumption can elevate blood pressure, whereas limiting its consumption to recommended amounts decreases the risk of hypertension. Moreover, alcohol has a toxic effect on the liver. Since the liver produces glucose, when it is damaged it makes managing diabetes difficult. Alcohol should also be enjoyed on a full stomach, because drinking it on an empty stomach can result in dangerous drops in blood glucose.
Smoking. Smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate while inhaling and for a few minutes after. It adds stress to the heart, blood vessels and nerves, making diabetics particularly susceptible for kidney disease, retinopathy and peripheral neuropathy.
Quitting smoking can have a positive effect on every person’s heart health, not to say diabetic patients.
Stress. Not only it elevates blood pressure, but blood sugar as well. Stress inhibits the body’s ability to produce insulin, resulting in glucose piling up in the blood. Ways to reduce stress are meditation, yoga, exercise and other relaxation techniques you enjoy.
Good sleep. Sleep disorders can elevate blood pressure, whereas good sleep habits benefit it. Even otherwise healthy people can find their blood pressure to be higher in the morning after a poor night’s sleep. Sleep disruption attributable to apnea or restless leg syndrome in diabetics increases the incidence of hypertension. Establishing healthy sleep habits can make a difference.
These lifestyle interventions can be of great help in managing blood pressure and diabetes, and are especially crucial for people with prediabetes to turn it around.
However, you might still need medications to be taken for the rest of your life. Most commonly prescribed BP medications are ACE inhibitors and ARBs, which not only treat high blood pressure, but slow and prevent kidney disease in diabetics.
Diuretics are also prescribed to reduce the body’s water and salt content by stimulating urination. However, they can cause short-term disruption in blood sugar control.