Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition that often follows a diabetes diagnosis. In fact, 2 in 3 people having diabetes report high blood pressure or have to take medication/precaution to manage/prevent it. You must understand hypertension and its connection with diabetes, in order to take appropriate measures to manage your condition.

Hypertension occurs when the blood in the vessels flows with too much pressure, i.e. over 140/90 (systolic/diastolic). This puts an excess pressure or burden on the heart to ensure proper blood circulation. Persistent high blood pressure can even damage the heart and cause other diabetic complications. As per American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines, the target range for blood pressure is as follows:

    • Healthy blood pressure: 120/80
    • Early high blood pressure: between 120/80 and 140/90
    • High blood pressure: 140/90 or higher

There are several reasons for developing hypertension. Few of these are:

Atherosclerosis:

Atherosclerosis is hardening of the walls of the blood vessels due to cholesterol and plaque deposition. This condition restricts proper blood flow and can lead to increased blood pressure in the body. Atherosclerosis has been known to lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Diabetes:

Diabetes affects the release of the enzyme which initiates the dilation of the blood vessels. This implies that as an indirect response to having high blood sugar, the blood vessels of the body are also experiencing high blood pressure because of constricted vessels.

Obesity:

Being obese or overweight can accelerate both high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Gaining excess weight can lead to excess pressure on the heart and blood vessels. It also causes cholesterol and plaque deposition that leads to atherosclerosis.

A healthy diet, regular exercise, and proper medication can not only reduce obesity and manage blood sugar levels, but also strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system, and keep blood pressure in check.

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