So much about living with diabetes involves monitoring, managing, and maintaining blood sugar levels. But it isn’t just the amount of glucose in the bloodstream that matters when it comes to diabetes health. How well that bloodstream functions and how efficiently it delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout the body is critical to overall health. This is particularly true when it comes to high blood pressure.
High blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to many diabetes complications, including kidney disease, diabetic eye disease, and heart and circulation problems. Diabetes damages arteries and makes them more vulnerable to hardening, a condition called atherosclerosis. That can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to strokes, heart attacks, or kidney failure if left untreated. Most people with diabetes will eventually have hypertension; in fact, two out of every three people with diabetes report having high blood pressure or are taking prescription drugs to lower their blood pressure
What Is Blood Pressure and What Should It Be?
Blood pressure refers to the force of your blood moving through your blood vessels. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart is beating and pumping blood. This is called systolic pressure. Between beats, when your heart is resting, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure.
Systolic and diastolic pressure are the two numbers that make up a blood pressure reading, usually expressed as a “systolic/diastolic” or “systolic over diastolic” figure.
What your optimal blood pressure reading should be depends to a certain extent on whether you have other heart risk factors, but generally:
Blood Pressure Category Systolic Diastolic
Normal Less than 120 Less than 80
High Blood Pressure (no other heart risks) 140 or higher 90 or higher
High Blood Pressure (with other heart risks) 130 or higher 80 or higher
Dangerously high blood pressure 180 or higher 120 or higher
Controlling Blood Pressure
You can lower your blood pressure with lifestyle changes, though medication may also be needed to bring your numbers down to a healthy level. Many of the things you do to manage your diabetes will also help with high blood pressure, such as:
- Control your blood sugar
- Stop smoking.
- Eat healthily.
- Exercise most days.
- Keep your weight in a healthy range.
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
- Limit how much salt you eat.
- Visit your doctor regularly.
Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check With CGM
Along with keeping your blood pressure at a healthy number, maintaining blood glucose levels as close to your target level as possible is critical for reducing the risk of heart attack and other complications. One way to ensure that you keep your blood levels in check is through Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). It is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.
Speak with your doctor and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.