Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body. High blood pressure can result in increased risks of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease and nerve damage.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are often found together. This is because diabetes changes the body chemistry in a way that increases the risk of blood pressure.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Some of the causes of high blood pressure are not known, although it is known that it tends to run in families. Lifestyle factors such as being inactive, overweight, smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol and eating a lot of salt can also increase your risk.
Benefits of Managing Blood Pressure
Good management of blood pressure for people with diabetes is extremely important in decreasing the risk of:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye disease
- Nerve damage.
When to Check Your Blood Pressure
Have your blood pressure checked at every doctor’s visit, at least:
- Every six months for people with normal blood pressure
- Three months for people with high blood pressure
- Every 4-8 weeks if your blood pressure medication is being changed.
Home Blood Pressure Monitors
Home blood pressure monitors are available through Diabetes Australia and some pharmacies. However, it’s best to talk to your doctor first if you are thinking of buying one.
Reducing Blood Pressure
There are six positive steps you can take to reduce blood pressure:
- Don’t smoke.
- Lose excess weight.
- Do regular physical activity (30 minutes each day on most days of the week).
- Have less salt by limiting processed and takeaway foods and not adding salt in cooking afterwards.
- Limit alcohol intake to two or fewer standard drinks a day for both men and women.
- While tablets may be necessary to help reduce blood pressure, they are in addition to, and not a substitute for, a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity. It is not unusual to need as many as three or four medications to control blood pressure.