High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common but serious condition that often affects people with diabetes. Your doctor should be checking your blood pressure at every visit.
Why is it important to keep blood pressure under control?
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack and other medical problems. It is just as important to control your blood pressure, as it is to control your blood sugar. However, high blood pressure usually does not have any obvious symptoms, thus it is call the “silent killer.”
What is a healthy target for blood pressure?
The recommended blood pressure for someone with diabetes is 120/80 mm Hg. Be sure to ask what your numbers are so that you can be involved in monitoring your blood pressure. If you choose not to purchase a home blood pressure monitor, or cannot afford one, check with your local pharmacy to see if there is monitor on site or ask if the pharmacist will regularly check your blood pressure.
How can I really control my blood pressure?
Certain changes to your lifestyle can help control your blood pressure. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about these changes:
• Losing weight
• Starting an exercise program
• Reducing salt intake, and eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
• Quitting smoking
• Reducing stress
• Limiting alcoholic drinks
If these changes do not work, your doctor might also prescribe medicine to help control your blood pressure. It is very important, if taking blood pressure medication, that you follow all instructions and take it exactly as prescribed — even if you feel fine.
Poorly controlled or uncontrolled high blood pressure, together with diabetes, is a risk factor for heart disease. Lower your risk by staying aware of your blood pressure, keeping it under control and working with your doctor or pharmacist on those lifestyle changes that can lower your blood pressure.