As the heart pumps blood around the body through the arteries, a force or pressure is created as the blood travels. This is known as blood pressure. High blood pressure can result in increased risks of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease and nerve damage.
Diabetes and high blood pressure often go together. This is because diabetes leads to certain chemical changes in the body that increase the risk of blood pressure.
Causes of high blood pressure
Some causes of high blood pressure are unknown. It tends to run in families. Lifestyle factors such as being inactive and overweight, smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol and a high-salt diet can also increase your risk.
Benefits of managing blood pressure
The effective management of blood pressure is important for reducing the risk of:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- eye disease
- nerve damage
When to check your blood pressure
Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms. This is why it’s important to see your doctor and have your blood pressure checked regularly.
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 four to eight weeks if your blood pressure medication is being changed
Know what is a safe blood pressure level for you.
Home blood pressure monitors
Home blood pressure monitors are available through some pharmacies. However, it’s best to talk to your doctor first if you are thinking of buying one.
Reducing blood pressure
There are positive steps you can take to lower your blood pressure:
- exercise regularly
- follow a healthy diet
- reduce your salt intake
- lose weight if you are overweight
- drink less alcohol
- don’t smoke
Medicines for high blood pressure
Some people with high blood pressure need to take medication to lower their blood pressure, as well as make healthy lifestyle changes.
How are you going with your diabetes health checks?
Regular checks can help prevent serious diabetes-related complications like problems with your feet, eyes, heart and kidneys. Individual members of your health care team will let you know how often you need checks, so you can schedule them into your calendar.