Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure : How They Are Connected

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Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure : How They Are Connected

Blood pressure and blood sugar are related to each other. Hypertension or high blood pressure afflicts people with diabetes both type 1 and type 2. It has been reported by the American Diabetes Association [1] that from 2000 to 2012, around 70% of adults having diabetes had a blood pressure of more than 140/90 or were on medicines to keep their blood pressure in the normal range.

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Hypertension and Diabetes

A lot of people with diabetes have high blood pressure or hypertension. These conditions when hit together can complicate and worsen the situation. So, it is important to understand the link between blood pressure and blood sugar.

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Hypertension and Diabetes

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What is Hypertension?

It is the silent killer. Generally, it does not present many signs and symptoms and so a lot of people are unaware that they have the condition. High blood pressure ups the chances of heart attack and stroke. Diabetes also occurs along with it.

What is Hypertension?

Blood pressure is measured in mm Hg and is assessed using a blood pressure monitor. It gives two numbers. The first is the systolic blood pressure or the highest level of blood pressure in a heartbeat. The second number signifies the diastolic blood pressure or the lowest level of blood pressure in a heartbeat.

A reading less than or equal to 119/79 is normal. [2] A reading ranging between 120 and 139 for systolic blood pressure and 80-89 for diastolic blood pressure indicates prehypertension. A reading of 140/90 is high blood pressur.

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What is Diabetes?

This happens when the blood sugar spikes as the body cannot use glucose. Type 1 diabetes occurs when enough insulin is not produced by the body. The patient must learn to manage the condition with insulin therapy. Around 90% of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetics [3]. It can be managed with lifestyle changes, medication, glucose monitoring, boosting physical activity.

What is Diabetes?
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Now Let Us Understand the Link

Studies have claimed that 33% of patients with diabetes have hypertension. Which is an indication that there is a strong correlation between blood pressure and blood sugar. When these two conditions that is hypertension and diabetes exist together, one disease makes the other worse. This is actually a deadly combination.

Why diabetes Increases Blood Pressure?

Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar are comorbid conditions and occur together frequently. Moreover, diabetes makes the treatment of hypertension more difficult and high blood pressure makes diabetes more dangerous.

Both these conditions stem from being overweight, eating unhealthily and leading an inactive lifestyle. The combination of blood pressure and blood sugar is deadly or lethal and increases the chances of stroke or heart attack. Both the conditions lead to an increased risk of kidney diseases, rupturing the eyes blood vessels which can cause blindness. Diabetes and hypertension occur together as they share some physiological traits. This means that the effects of one condition increase the likelihood of the other.

The effects of diabetes which lead to high BP are:

  • Increased Volume of Fluid: Diabetes increases the amount of fluid in body which further increases the blood pressure.
  • Increase Stiffness in Arteries: Diabetes decreases the stretching ability of the blood vessels, causing high blood pressure.
  • Impaired Handling of Insulin: There are changes in the way insulin is produced and handled and this can increase the blood pressure.

In quite a lot of cases BP and diabetes occur together as they share some risk factors which are:

  • Body Mass: Being obese or overweight increases the chances of high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Diet: Diets having fat and rich in salt and processed sugars lead to issues of the organ which can result in high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Level of Activity: Insulin becomes less effective with low physical activity and this can cause diabetes. This further stiffens the blood vessels increasing the odds of high blood pressure.

Strategies for prevention of diabetes and high blood pressure depend on these risk factors.

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How Common is Hypertension in People with Diabetes

Data has been collected from a large study, widely referenced on type 1.

In a time-span of 10 years, more than 5% of people developed high BP. In a time-span of 20 years 3% had high blood pressure. By the age of 40, around70% of the people had high blood pressure.

How Common is Hypertension in People with Diabetes
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Prevention and Management of Diabetes and Blood Pressure

The best way to lower the incidences of high blood pressure as well as diabetes is by keeping them in optimum range by managing your lifestyle. There is a growing body of evidence which says that complications can be reduced if blood pressure is managed in people with diabetes.

A study was conducted in the U.K. which examined close to 1148 diabetics for few years. The recruits whose blood pressure was properly controlled had a considerable reduction in the risk of dying due to hypertension, diabetes or in combination. The following lifestyle modifications are very important in managing both diabetes and hypertension.

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1.Weight Loss

Bringing the weight down can play a significant role in reducing blood pressure. It has been reported by the National Heart and Lung Institute that losing as less as 10 pounds of weight can help in bringing down the blood pressure.

Weight Loss

2.Incorporating Activity

People having diabetes and hypertension should exercise and be active for 5 days a week for at least half an hour each day. Activity helps decrease blood pressure and has many other benefits when it comes to overall health.

3.Choosing Healthy Food Options

Diabetics should keep a close watch on their diet so that they can maintain optimum levels of blood sugar. They must not add salt to their food so that they can maintain their blood pressure.

Choosing Healthy Food Options

4.Consume Moderate Amounts of Alcohol

Too much alcohol increases the blood pressure. The risk of hypertension can be reduced by drinking recommended amounts of alcohol.

5.Do not Smoke

Nicotine increases blood pressure and heart rate. Further it ups the risk of heart attack and stroke. Smokers who have diabetes are at risk for other complications like retinopathy, heart or kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy, poor blood flow to feet and legs.

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