Hypertension refers to the pressure exerted by the blood on the arterial walls when flowing through the arteries. Under normal circumstances, pressure is 120 mmHg systolic pressure, which is the pressure exerted when the heart contracts, and 80 mmHg diastolic pressure, which is the pressure exerted when the heart dilates. If the pressure is above this value, it is known as hypertension, also known as high or elevated blood pressure. If a person has diabetes, the risk of getting hypertension increases along with atherosclerosis, heart disease, strokes and kidney disease. So, the question is can diabetes cause hypertension?
The answer is yes, diabetes can cause hypertension. In fact, diabetic patients are twice as likely to get hypertension compared to people who do not have diabetes. Bryan Williams, the author of the book Hypertension in Diabetes, claims that 32 percent of patients with Type 1 diabetes and 80 percent with Type 2 diabetes have the risk of getting hypertension. A health website, Health A to Z, states that when people suffering from hypertension do not get the required treatment, they could end up with atherosclerosis, strokes or heart attacks. A person suffering from diabetes as well as hypertension has a higher chance of getting heart disease compared to a person who is healthy. In fact, one of the leading causes of fatality among diabetic patients is heart disease. Hence, if a person is suffering from diabetes, it is imperative that he/she should get their blood pressure checked.
In Type 1 diabetes, the main cause for hypertension is due to damage to the kidneys. If this occurs, the person will require a transplant of the damaged kidney to alleviate the hypertension as well as the renal problems. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes occurs due to resistance to insulin, and when insulin levels in the body rise, it causes the sodium levels to increase. This, in turn, results in hypertension. Also, when the blood sugar is high, it affects the lining of the blood vessels and the elasticity of the vessels decrease. This can also result in hypertension in Type 2 diabetic patients.
A diabetic having hypertension will have to reduce their weight, stop drinking alcohol, eat healthy food, do regular exercise, quit smoking and take the medications prescribed by the doctor. Basically, the person has to bring his/her blood pressure below 135/80 mmHg. It is important to remember that having diabetes and hypertension is a dangerous combination that always has an adverse effect on the blood vessels, heart and other important systems of the body. Furthermore, hypertension usually does not have any visible signs and this is the main reason that many diabetic are unaware that they have both diabetes and hypertension. Hence, along with monitoring of blood sugar, it is also important that a diabetic also monitor blood pressure regularly.
When a diabetic is diagnosed with hypertension, one of the first medications a doctor will prescribe would be diuretics, ACE inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers. These medications prevent damage to the blood vessels and kidneys and also prevent the condition from going from bad to worse. However, along with the medication, the person will have to make drastic changes to his/her lifestyle.
While getting hypertension is a risk that diabetics face, there is no evidence to show that every diabetic patient will end up with hypertension. Also, female diabetic patients are at a higher risk of developing hypertension compared to male diabetic patients. Hypertension takes years to develop and that is why it is important to keep checking blood pressure regularly, so that any sign of elevated blood pressure can be immediately controlled before the pressure goes out of control.
If you are suffering from diabetes, it is prudent to immediately contact your doctor to get your blood pressure checked. It is better to be careful than to regret later on.
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