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Diabetes and hypertension are among the most commonly occurring health conditions observed in the general population. Most of us are aware of both these conditions, and we probably have met or cared for people with one or both conditions at some time. What many of us are not aware of is that there is a correlation between both diabetes and hypertension. In addition, the chances that patients having one condition may either already be suffering from the another or have a greater chance to develop it at some point.1

Many researchers have studied the correlation between diabetes and hypertension and found a definite overlap. The incidence of hypertension can be as high as 80 percent y in patients with type 2 diabetes..1 The research works also indicated that there is more than just a factor of chance that causes them to exist in patients together.2

Factors contributing to hypertension and type 2 diabetes

Studies have suggested that genetic and environmental factors are the most likely contributors to these conditions. Some of the likely causes are as follows:2

  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Inflammation
  • Resistance to insulin
  • Lack of physical activity

Impact of hypertension and type 2 diabetes

Both conditions in isolation have been known to compromise certain body functions. However, a combination of hypertension and type 2 diabetes in patients has been observed to affect the structure and functioning of the heart. The result could be reduced thickness of the walls in the left ventricle, dysfunction of the left ventricle, increased stiffness in the heart muscles and hampered dilation.3

Problems related to hypertension and type 2 diabetes

The conditions of hypertension and type 2 diabetes themselves come with their own set of symptoms, related complications and courses of treatment. It has been observed that the presence of both of these conditions together can cause the onset of, or even accelerate, certain health conditions dramatically. For one, it has been found that among diabetics, close to 75 per cent of heart-related ailments are caused due to high blood pressure. Additionally, hypertension in patients has played a vital role in accelerating kidney failure and eye problems in patients with diabetes.4

Managing hypertension and type 2 diabetes

While medical intervention will be necessarily provided to the people with diabetes who have problems of hypertension, it is essential that the patients adopt certain modifications to their daily lifestyle routines to help in managing themselves better. Some of these changes are as follows:5

  • Lesser intake of salt: While there may be no tested results that prove improvement in patients with diabetes with a lesser intake of salt, it has been noticed that reducing the consumption of salt has demonstrated lowered blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
  • Physical activity: Physical activity is extremely important for those with diabetes and hypertension. It is strongly recommended to every patient who has either or both of these diseases. Although the intensity and duration would vary depending on the age and condition of the individual, moderate daily exercise like in the form of brisk walks is considered to be very effective.
  • Weight monitoring: In many instances, hypertension and diabetes are associated with obesity and being overweight. Eating more cleverly and finding natural ways to combat weight loss can be highly effective. It is also important to be careful if you decide to opt for medication for weight loss, since it can sometimes increase blood pressure.
  • Regulate sleep: Correction or management of sleep-related issues and disorders has shown positive results in lowering hypertension among people with diabetes.

Just as we notice a larger percentage of the population being affected by disorders like diabetes and hypertension, we also find a considerable number of people turning their attention towards health and wellness. Simple rules and well-made choices cannot just help you achieve the best of health, but also manage and maintain conditions like these rather effectively. Investing in yourself can have great rewards!

References:

  1. Blood Pressure UK. Diabetes and high blood pressure [Internet]. Available from: http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Yourbody/Diabetes.
  2. Cheung B, Li C. Diabetes and hypertension: is there a common metabolic pathway. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2012 Jan 27;14(2):160-166. doi: 10.1007/s11883-012-0227-2.
  3. Clinicaltrials.gov. Exercise training in type 2 diabetes and hypertension (SHAPE2) [Internet]. [updated 2013 Jan 23; cited 2019 Dec 6]. Available from: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00212303.
  4. Campbell N, Gilbert R, Leiter L, Larochelle P, Tobe S, Chockalingam A, et al. Hypertension in people with type 2 diabetes. Update on pharmacologic management. Cam Fam Physician. 2011 Sep;57(9):997-1002,e347-53. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3173417/.
  5. de Boer IH, Bangalore S, Benetos A, Davis AM, Michos ED, Muntner P, et al. Diabetes and hypertension: a position statement by the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2017 Sep;40(9):1273-1284. doi: https://doi.org/10.2337/dci17-0026.

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