High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Chronic Condition Risk Factors: Part 3, Diabetes
High Blood Pressure (hypertension) Chronic Condition Risk Factors Series, Part 3
Diabetes and high blood pressure are often seen together. High blood pressure will worsen other health complications like eye and kidney diseases for diabetics. High blood pressure is found in more than 60% of diabetics (1). High blood pressure increases the risk for diabetes and diabetes increases the risk for high blood pressure. A diabetic is twice as likely to develop high blood pressure than a non-diabetic (2). A diabetic is also four times more prone to heart disease than someone who doesn't live with either (2). When high blood pressure is left unaddressed, it is linked to heart disease and stroke. Diabetes and high blood pressure are becoming more commonplace in America. It's not just the older generation living with these life-threatening diseases, it's our teenagers and children, too.
The science behind it
There appears to be two links between diabetes and high blood pressure from a medical viewpoint. The first link is the result of the numbers, the high numbers. There are more people with diabetes with high blood pressure than without high blood pressure. The second link is the metabolic link found between high blood pressure and diabetes. This is the link of insulin resistance, which is the way our bodies react to insulin. Insulin can react in two ways: it can cause sugar to enter cells and it can cause too much salt, which is bad because of the toll it takes on the kidneys. Combined together, diabetes and high blood doubly increase the risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. With this risk, come heart kidney, renal failure, heart disease, stroke, and eventually death. Because extra weight seems to be common on those with diabetes and those with high blood pressure, other diseases are sure to follow.
It's important to have your blood pressure and blood sugar levels tested on a regular basis. Even if the numbers are higher than you would like, at least you know the truth. You must remember these high numbers can potentially threaten your life. Be smart about it. Make the necessary choices to lower your high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. It's much easier to prevent high blood pressure and diabetes than it is to address them later. That means today is the best day to make the decision for lifestyle modifications. Some easy lifestyle changes include quiting smoking, starting to exercising, starting a healthier diet, and reducing alcohol consumption and your salt intake. Granted, these choices may not be so easy to begin, but once they become habit, it will become easier. There are resources available to provide support if you need encouragement and guidance. Every wise health decision improves your odds that much more.