What is Hypertension?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that often affects people with type 2 diabetes. It is unknown why there is such a significant correlation between the two diseases, but it is widely assumed that obesity, a high-fat, high-sodium diet, and inactivity have led to a rise in both conditions.
Hypertension is known as a “silent killer” because it has no obvious symptoms and many people are unaware that they have it.
If you have hypertension, it means that your blood is pumping through your heart and blood vessels with too much force. Over time, consistently high blood pressure tires the heart muscle and can enlarge it. In healthy people, a blood pressure reading of 140/90 is considered normal, but for type 2 diabetics, doctors recommend keeping readings lower, below 135/80.
What does this mean? The first number (135) is called the systolic pressure; it indicates the pressure as blood pushes through your heart. The second number (80), called the diastolic pressure, is the pressure maintained by the arteries between heartbeats. Healthy people should get their blood pressure checked several times a year, but diabetics need to be even more vigilant. In addition to having your pressure checked at least four times each year, the ADA recommends self-monitoring at home, recording the readings, and sharing them with your doctor.
Diabetes and Hypertension
According to the ADA, the combination of hypertension and type 2 diabetes is particularly lethal and can significantly raise a person’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
There are many minor lifestyle changes that can lower your blood pressure. Most are dietary, but daily exercise is also recommended. Most doctors advise walking briskly for 30 to 40 minutes every day, but any aerobic activity can make your heart healthier.