DIABETES AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: THE ULTIMATE DEATH COMBO
According to recent studies, it has been shown that 64% of people with type 2 diabetes also suffer from hypertension.
This companionship is actually an ungodly one but sadly, in most cases where adequate management is not adhered to, the combo is just inevitable.
Many underlying pathophysiological mechanisms are associated with the duo, with a few seemingly plausible ones like: sodium-fluid retention, insulin resistance in the nitric-oxide pathway and stiffening of arteries.
Diabetes and hypertension are strongly interrelated and always predisposes individuals to other cardiovascular complications like atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis.
In this article, we would throw light on both diseases, how to manage them, their symptoms and how to prevent one leading to the other.
Diabetes is a complex condition that impairs the body’s ability to metabolize/use blood sugar in the body.
Globally, more than 422 million people are living with the disease. Currently, 1 out of every 17 adults are living with this disease in Nigeria.
Uncontrolled diabetes, either with medication or diet, or a combination of both therapies would lead to other disease complications like stroke and heart diseases.
There are three types of diabetes and they include: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
• TYPE 1 DIABETES: this is referred to as juvenile diabetes; more common among younger people. It occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. Sadly, people living with this type of diabetes have to stay on insulin for the rest of their lives to stay alive.
• TYPE 2 DIABETES: this is the most common type of diabetes. It affects how the body uses insulin. The cells in the body do not respond to insulin effectively as they would always do in time past before the onset of this type of diabetes.
Less common types of diabetes include monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
HOW CAN I GET DIABETES?
The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
• If you are overweight (when your BMI is above 25 kg/m2)
• If one of your parents or ancestors has diabetes
• having a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level lower than 40 mg/dL or 50 mg/dL
• If there is an occurrence of high blood pressure in your family lineage
• having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a child with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds
• a history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
• being of African-American, Native American, Latin American, or Asian-Pacific Islander descent
• being more than 45 years of age
• having a sedentary lifestyle
HOW WILL I KNOW THAT I HAVE DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes always presents with symptoms and they include:
– excessive hunger
– excessive thirst
– excessive passing of urine; especially in the night time
– blurry vision
– you easily get tired
In some cases, symptoms might not be noticed on time.
Type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed also if an individual’s blood sugar levels are above 70-90 mg/dl. Normally, to test for diabetes, blood samples are needed. But recently, your tears could be used to test for blood glucose levels.
IDENTIFYING BLOOD PRESSURE
Hypertension is a common condition in which there is a long-term force of blood against your artery walls. This could also predispose the individual to other heart health problems.
Previous studies have recorded that hypertension (commonly called) is more prevalent in men than in women.
CAUSES OF HYPERTENSION
There are a number of risk factors which could lead to hypertension and they include:
• Family history (hereditary)
• Ethnic background.
• Obesity and being overweight.
• Lack of physical exercise or activity.
• Alcohol intake.
• Poor diet and high cholesterol.
There are no symptoms noticed with hypertension; reason why it is called the “silent killer”
People usually find out that they have hypertension when a doctor takes their reading with a sphygmomanometer.
An individual would be said to have hypertension if blood pressure levels are above 140/90 mmHg, in severe cases blood pressure levels might get to 180/120mmHg.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HYPERTENSION AND DIABETES
The duo often occurs together and might even share common causes which include:
– Oxidative stress
– Insulin resistance
As blood glucose accumulates in the body, some vital organs that help to maintain fluid balance are affected. Organs like the kidneys are more affected because they play an important role in making sure there is no fluid retention which leads to high blood pressure.
There are three ways in which high glucose levels in the blood can increase blood pressure:
• The blood vessels lose their ability to stretch.
• The fluid in the body increases, especially if diabetes is already affecting the kidneys.
• Insulin resistance which may involve processes that increase the risk of hypertension.
It is important to note that the duo could pose huge health complications which includes:
1. heart attack or stroke
2. decreased kidney function, progressing to dialysis
3. problems with the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision loss
4. peripheral vascular disease
CAN THIS BE PREVENTED?
Yes! Lifestyle factors are very crucial in the management of both diabetes and hypertension.
These lifestyle factors should be adhered to strictly in order to prevent the onset of the duo
1. A HEALTHY DIET: people who already live with diabetes or hypertension should seek advice from their dietitian to help manage their symptoms in order to avoid an escalating situation.
This advice would include:
– eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
– focusing on high-fiber foods, including whole grains
– limiting (not avoiding) the amount of added salt and sugar
– avoiding or limiting unhealthful fats, such as trans fats and
– avoiding the intake of refined carbs.
2. AVOID ALCOHOL AND SODA DRINKS: high alcohol intake increases the risks of developing these diseases. Surprisingly, people always have the mind-set that alcoholic drinks are healthier options when compared to soft drinks. Both are actually not recommended if these diseases are present.
3. STOP SMOKING: smoking tobacco increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. Smoking could lead to poor blood flow and could damage the heart and lungs.
4. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT: losing weight is actually helpful in preventing the onset of diabetes and hypertension. Losing 3-5% of your weight can improve blood sugar readings.
5. BE ACTIVE: at least 150 minutes of intense exercise could help lower blood pressure levels and blood glucose levels as it helps in good blood circulation.
Note that only diet would not help in the management of diabetes and hypertension or the duo. Medications also are important factors in the management.
Also note that herbs, supplements and concoctions won’t help to eradicate this duo but might even pose greater health risks to the individual.
High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes often occur together and tend to share same risk factors.
It’s very important to pay attention to lifestyle modifications if you are living with both diseases or just one of them.
In the management, it’s important to have a doctor and dietitian co-manage your symptoms as diet and medication play a huge role in the management of these diseases.
- SOURCES: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317220#outlook