Diabetes is not “just” diabetes: it affects many different areas of life that are not always obvious to others. Diabetes and high blood pressure is one of those areas.
Sometimes, high blood pressure is not even obvious to those with diabetes: it’s important to bear it in mind. At the same time, it doesn’t need to be something to constantly occupy the mind.
So, to take care of any potential worries, we’re going to explain it all: what it is exactly, the symptoms (if any), and how to take care of it.
Diabetes and Hypertension: what is it?
High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Both terms have the same meaning. Blood pressure is essentially a measurement of the amount of force that the heart needs to pump blood around the body.
High blood pressure often occurs because of damaged or constricted arteries. It is more difficult for the heart to pump blood through narrowed arteries.
Consequently, more force is needed, and the blood pressure rises. This is not ideal because the increased pressure can cause damage within the cardiovascular system.
The measurement for blood pressure is called millimetres of mercury (mmHg). According to the British Heart Foundation, one’s blood pressure level should not be higher than 140/90 mmHg. Higher levels of blood pressure indicate the following:
- 140-180/90-110mmHg: possible hypertension
- Above 180/110mmHg: severe hypertension
When it comes to diabetes and hypertension, there is a greater risk of high blood pressure because of the potential for damaged arteries. Diabetes often leads to high blood glucose. In turn, this may damage arteries over time.
This is, fortunately, well-known by diabetes healthcare professionals. They will usually suggest checking blood pressure in order to nip any complications in the bud. A blood pressure check is often scheduled in a yearly check-up for people with diabetes.
If you don’t have any blood pressure checks scheduled, just ask for one next time you visit your healthcare professional. In some cases, you might be given a monitor to check your blood pressure at home.
We want to help you avoid hypertension in the first place, as outlined in the next sections.
Symptoms of Diabetes and Hypertension
To avoid any increasing blood pressure levels, it may seem like a good idea to look out for any symptoms of hypertension. However, blood pressure often comes without symptoms.
With diabetes and high blood pressure, it might even be the case that a person with diabetes would mistake their glycemic symptoms for high blood pressure. As such, we wouldn’t advise diagnosing yourself with high blood pressure based on symptoms.
Bearing that in mind, hypertension does sometimes result in symptomatic experiences. The following experiences might not mean that hypertension is a cause, but you may wish to keep an eye on them nonetheless:
- Feeling dizzy
- Blurred vision
- Recurring nosebleeds
- Flushed skin in the face (eg. red cheeks)
- Shortness of breath
Thus, if you do experience any of these symptoms, the first step ought to be checking your blood glucose levels.
How to Prevent and Combat high Blood Pressure
Taking care of blood pressure means taking care of the cardiovascular system. Aside from high blood glucose, blood pressure may be affected by certain lifestyle choices.
A lifestyle that can prevent high blood pressure often includes:
- Reduced smoking (and ideally no smoking whatsoever)
- Regular exercise – usually at least 30 minutes a day
- A diet without much saturated fat and which focuses on more wholegrain food (for further tips on this, see our post about diabetes and food)
- Reduced alcohol consumption
- Enough sleep (usually 8 hours a night)
- A healthy body weight
If you have particularly high blood pressure, you might be prescribed certain medications that help to lower blood pressure.
For diabetes and hypertension in particular, high blood pressure may be curtailed with a stable blood glucose level. This is definitely easier said than done.
Yet, if you’re already taking note of the above steps, then your blood glucose will benefit too. For instance, stress and diabetes leads to raised blood glucose levels. Getting enough sleep, though, will reduce stress, helping to keep both a stable blood glucose and blood pressure.
Similarly, when it comes to exercise and diabetes, aerobic exercise will lower blood glucose levels. Simultaneously, this will help to keep blood pressure in check.
Get further tips for how to keep blood sugar stable right here!
Finally, try Hedia as a method for keeping a balanced blood glucose. Our retrospective study showed an increased time-in-range of 12.35% after 12 weeks of using Hedia.
See how the app might help you! Download Hedia from Google Play or the App Store.
Diabetes, high Blood Pressure, and Balance
Diabetes and high blood pressure appear to go hand-in-hand. The plus side is that dealing with both often goes hand-in-hand.
Taking care of your body and blood glucose levels should automatically help to take care of your cardiovascular system.
Inevitably, it comes down to a balanced lifestyle. So, no need to fret about hypertension: just keep up the balance.