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Hypertension and Diabetes - The Double Risk!

Hypertension and Diabetes.

Those who are affected with Diabetes many times experience high blood pressure or hypertension. Statistics show that diabetics are twice as likely to have high blood pressure than others. This is especially so among the aged.

 Like diabetes, there is no cure for most types of hypertension -- but it can be controlled. Lifestyle changes such as keeping to a low salt diet and exercising help control hypertension. Some people might also need to take medications.

Many individuals who are pre-diabetic usually don't realize that they are  because they do not recognize the symptoms or have no identifying symptoms. 

It is the same with those suffering hypertension, they too may have no symptoms. It is usually not recognized until the blood pressure becomes very high.

Usually they don't discover they have high blood pressure until they visit their doctors and have their blood pressure measured.  This is the only way to diagnose it.

The complications are also similar: heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease are just some.

With both Hypertension and Diabetes your risks increase!

Heart and Blood Vessel Disease. (Cardiovascular Disease) People with both diabetes and hypertension have a much greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems. For people with both diseases, the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease is higher. 

With atherosclerosis, the arteries become hardened by disease and fatty deposits can occur in the lining of the arteries. This leads to a much higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease.

Keeping a low fat, low salt diet and taking certain medications can reduce the fatty deposits in the wall of the arteries.

Kidney Disease. About 20% of people who have had diabetes for more than 15 years have kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy). This risk goes up with age, with the duration of diabetes, and it is more common among African -Americans. Hypertension increases the chances of developing kidney disease. Appropriate blood pressure medications may delay kidney damage.

Stroke (Cerebrovascular Disease). Stroke risk in persons with diabetes is two-to-four times higher than in those of similar age who do not have diabetes. Among those with poorly controlled blood pressure, the risk of stoke is six times higher than normal. For people with both diabetes and hypertension, their risk is even higher.

Blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication affecting the eyes that can result in blindness. People who have had diabetes for a long time are at a higher risk of developing this complication. People with hypertension and diabetes are also at increased risk for glaucoma and another eye disease called ischemic optic neuropathy.

Managing hypertension is much like managing diabetes. 

  • The first line of treatment for hypertension are lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Losing weight, if necessary, to maintain a healthy weight

  • Eating a healthy, low-fat, low-sodium (salt) diet (sodium intake 2000 - 4000 mg daily)

  • Exercising regularly, such as walking, for 30 minutes per day

  • Limiting alcohol intake (no more than one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men)

  • Not smoking

  • Reducing stress

As with diabetes, if lifestyle changes do not lower blood pressure sufficiently, medications must be taken.