Diabetes and high blood pressure, how are they related?Posted on Dec 08,2017
Diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension) are two chronic diseases that are intrinsically related. Those who suffer from both diseases should monitor them carefully to prevent the potential damage they cause to the body.
Diabetes and hypertension: understanding the fundamentals
Before we dive into the details of how diabetes and hypertension are related, let’s analyse some key facts to better understand why it is so important to treat those two diseases:
– Diabetes is closely correlated with hypertension: more than 40% of people suffering from diabetes also suffer from high blood pressure.
– A person is considered diabetic when they have recurring raised blood sugar (glucose) levels (over 100 mg / dl fasting). Glucose provides energy to the body’s cells, but if there is an excess of glucose (also known as hypoglycemia), the blood vessels get damaged, both the capillaries and the arteries. Atherosclerosis can occur, that is, the vessels accumulate plaques of fat and blood cells in their inner walls, which is why they become narrow, which hinders circulation.
– According to the new recommendations published in November 2017 by the AMA-AAC, it is considered that a person is hypertensive when their recurrent blood pressure is 130/80 mm hg (these figures correspond to hypertension stage I , stage II is over 140/90 mm hg).
– Diabetes and hypertension are the two main risk factors for the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.
Why control hypertension in people suffering from diabetes?
High blood pressure helps accelerate the damage that diabetes causes to blood vessels, producing major lesions and potentially serious complications. In other words, diabetics and hypertensives are more likely to suffer from angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, stroke, ocular deterioration, renal failure or thrombosis, among other conditions (e.g. wounds that do not heal on the feet, tired legs …)
These complications can be avoided or at least mitigated if both diseases are effectively controlled.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed at a young age, during childhood or adolescence, when insulin dependence is detected: they need insulin to survive. The main cause of type 1 diabetes is that the pancreas does not produce insulin, which is the hormone that regulates the uptake of glucose from the blood into liver cells, fat cells and skeletal muscle cells. When you have this type of diabetes, symptoms such as thirst, increased urine, fatigue, and weight loss appear, although the desire to eat is increased.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type (more than 90% of patients have type 2 diabetes), this form usually appears with age, it is also associated with obesity and physical inactivity. In this case, the ability to produce insulin does not go away, however, the body has resistance to this hormone. Often, type 2 diabetes is diagnosed by chance during a routine examination.
As a first step, a non-pharmacological treatment for type 2 diabetes can be effective: a diet low in calories and simple sugars, accompanied by weight loss and an increase in physical activity, are the recommendations. If this is not enough, the doctor will prescribe oral anti-diabetic medication to the patient and, if necessary, insulin.
Treatment of hypertension for the diabetics
Hypertension is a condition to be taken seriously, especially when it affects a diabetic because the effects are multiplied: it greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, ocular and/or cerebrovascular accidents, among others.
When diabetes and hypertension affect the same person, these two conditions must be strictly controlled, starting with the adoption of a suitable diet and adherence to treatment prescribed by the doctor.
It is very important that hypertensive diabetics measure their blood pressure twice a day, and put in place a food and exercise check. With the mobile application caracal, users can connect their blood pressure monitor with their smartphone, then show the records to the doctor or send them directly. In addition, for each measurement, the user will receive points (“hypes”), which can be redeemed for experiences (such as a session with a nutritionist or a massage), enjoyable moments that encourage the continued control of hypertension.