Diabetes and High Blood Pressure 101
People with diabetes are at increased risk for high blood pressure even if they don't have any other risk factors. This is because having diabetes can damage your blood vessels, and if your blood vessels are damaged, it's harder for the blood to flow through them, causing your blood pressure to go up. But don't despair. Having diabetes doesn't mean that you are automatically destined for high blood pressure. Find out what blood pressure measurement is healthy for someone with diabetes. In addition, check out ways to lower your blood pressure by modifying your lifestyle.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke regardless of whether you have diabetes. However, having diabetes is itself a risk factor for heart problems, so the recommended blood pressure for people with diabetes is different from the general public to allow for this additional risk.What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is how forcefully your blood moves through your blood vessels. If the blood moves with excessive force because your arteries are blocked or have narrowed, your blood pressure is higher and your heart has to work harder, which increases your risk for heart disease and for a heart attack or a stroke.
There are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure; the only way to know whether you have it is to see your doctor regularly and have your blood pressure checked. The National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association recommend a target blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg for people with diabetes. When your doctor says "130 over 80," here's what he or she means: The first number, 130, refers to systolic pressure, or the pressure or resistance inside the blood vessels when the heart contracts. The second number, 80, refers to diastolic pressure, or the pressure or resistance inside the blood vessels when the heart relaxes, in between beats. The unit mmHg stands for millimeters of mercury -- he standard unit of measure for blood pressure.
In addition to having diabetes, other risk factors for high blood pressure include: eating a high-fat, high-salt diet, smoking, being overweight, high levels of stress, caffeine intake, not exercising, and having a family history of high blood pressure.
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