'Good management of blood pressure is as important as good control of blood glucose and the reduction of cholesterol in preventing the complications of diabetes.'
Diabetes and high blood pressure are two unfortunate complications that go hand in hand. Although diabetes has specific symptoms associated to it, high blood pressure generally goes undetected. The only way one can check for high blood pressure is using a blood pressure monitor.
What is the science behind blood pressure?
Our heart is a muscle that pumps blood into our body’s organs and tissues. Blood is pumped out of the left side of your heart into the arteries and our blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients to our body. As the blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries, it pushes against the artery walls. Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure of the blood on the walls of arteries. It is measured using two numbers.
The first number is the systolic blood pressure and measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure and measures the pressure in our blood vessels when your heart rests between beats. Our blood pressure is expressed as a measurement with two numbers, one number on top (systolic) and one on the bottom (diastolic), like a fraction. For example, 118/79 mm Hg. If your blood pressure reading is less than or equal to 120/80 mm Hg, you are well within the normal range, with a healthy heart.
For us managing diabetes, insulin, the hormone that breaks sugar down is either absent or non functional, making sugar we eat flow freely in the bloodstream. This high blood sugar can cause damage to the walls of blood vessels and create a build up of fatty material, which in time, results in narrow blood vessels. The narrower the arteries, the more pressure is exerted by our blood on arteries, kind of like comparing the flow of water through a thin pipe to the same amount of water in a broad pipe.
Elevated Blood Pressure
Numbers higher than 120/80 mm Hg mean that we need to take on healthier habits till our numbers stabilize again. When our systolic pressure is between 120 and 129 mm Hg and our diastolic pressure is less than 80 mm Hg, it means we have elevated blood pressure. Although this does not imply rushing to the doctor, elevated blood pressure has a good chance of turning into actual high blood pressure, putting us at an increased risk of heart disease or a heart stroke. Here are a few tips you could use that could normalise your blood pressure numbers without taking on medication:
1) Regular physical activity
Exercise more often and stay consistent. It’s better to exercise 30 minutes every day rather than a few hours only on the weekends. You could also take long walks in the woods if you live close to nature. A 2010 study published in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine
found that participants who walked in a forest had lower blood pressure than those who strolled through a city environment.
2) Manage your weight better
Exercising without keeping a record of your weight and BMI may not give us the results we need. It is therefore important to keep a track of our progress. Check out our 5 tips to effectively manage your weight
3) Limit alcohol and quit smoking
Reduce your alcohol intake or stop drinking altogether for a while. It’s also important to quit or refrain from smoking as it is unhealthy for both your heart and your lungs.
4) Limit salt
Some people are sensitive to the effects of sodium and shouldn’t ideally consume more than 2,300 mg per day. Adults who already have hypertension may need to limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. At IBD Medical, we are here to help you with some fun, healthy recipes that have a high nutritive content. Check out our “recipe roundup
” with a new quick, fun and healthy recipe every week!
5) Hypertensive Crisis:
A blood pressure reading above 180/120 mm Hg indicates a serious health problem. The AHA refers to these high measurements as a “hypertensive crisis
.” Blood pressure in this range requires urgent treatment even if there are no accompanying symptoms.
How often should we check our blood pressure?
Hypertension is called a ‘silent killer’ because it often has no signs or symptoms, which means it could potentially be too late by the time it is diagnosed. High blood pressure increases the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. This is why it is necessary to check your blood pressure regularly. Remember that a single blood pressure reading doesn’t necessarily classify your health. An average of blood pressure reading taken over time is a more accurate way to go about this.
It is advisable to regularly monitor your blood pressure based on your individual health needs. Regular blood pressure checks are important for assessing your cardiovascular health and detecting any potential issues early on. Depending on your overall health and any existing medical conditions, your healthcare provider may recommend a specific frequency for monitoring your blood pressure. By regularly checking your blood pressure, you can proactively manage your health and take necessary steps to maintain optimal blood pressure levels.
Remember, it's important to personalise your routine based on your specific needs and consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for individualised advice on managing diabetes.
The content of this Website or Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website or Blog.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 (in the US) or 000 (in Australia) immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care.