High blood pressure, or hypertension, is common in people with type 2 diabetes. These two conditions can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, so it’s especially important to seek treatment or prevention.
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Your arteries move blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure usually falls and rises throughout the day.
You can measure blood pressure by looking at two numbers: systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries during the beating of the heart. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests in between beats.
Normal blood pressure levels should be lower than 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension occurs if your blood pressure is consistently above this level on a daily basis.
Both type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to complications such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. So what’s the relationship between these two conditions? We’ll explain — plus ways to manage and prevent high blood pressure.
Some of the major driving factors for both diabetes and high blood pressure include living a sedentary lifestyle and excessive calorie intake. Having diabetes also increases your risk of high blood pressure. Insulin resistance in people with diabetes increases your risk as well.
High blood pressure and diabetes are closely linked due to a number of common risk factors, including blood vessel inflammation, atherosclerosis (a buildup of material inside the blood vessels that narrows them), and dyslipidemia (an imbalance of fats in your blood).
Other risk factors for high blood pressure include:
Additionally, environmental, social, and economic inequities can lead to the development of diabetes and high blood pressure. Black Americans are disproportionately affected by high blood pressure, partly due to food deserts and environmental pollution.
High blood pressure typically develops over time. It doesn’t usually show any signs or symptoms, so it’s sometimes called the “silent killer.”
When symptoms appear, they typically involve:
Severe high blood pressure can lead to the following:
Measuring your blood pressure is the only option to detect hypertension. People with diabetes should see their doctor regularly to assess their blood pressure levels and risk for high blood pressure and other complications. You can also measure your blood pressure at home using automated devices.
Unmanaged high blood pressure can cause serious complications, resulting in the damage of essential organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys.
High blood pressure can harden the arteries, thereby decreasing the flow of oxygen and blood to the heart, which can lead to heart disease.
This can result in:
High blood pressure can block the arteries that supply oxygen and blood to the brain, resulting in a stroke. Moreover, high blood pressure in midlife may lead to the development of dementia and lower cognitive function later in life.
High blood pressure can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease that might result in kidney failure.
Making certain lifestyle changes is one of the first steps you should take to lower your blood pressure levels. You can prevent high blood pressure by:
For some people, lifestyle changes may not be enough. Your doctor may recommend medications that can help lower blood pressure and prevent complications.
High blood pressure is common among people with type 2 diabetes. It’s essential to see a healthcare professional on a regular basis to have your blood pressure levels measured.
Keeping track of these levels and making certain lifestyle changes can prevent you from experiencing serious complications such as heart disease and stroke.
Medically reviewed on December 01, 2022
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