Diabetes is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), strokes, blindness and lower-limb amputations.
CVD is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes carrying a risk of CVD related deaths to two to three times compared to individuals without diabetes.
Hypertension (High blood pressure) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular events. It is a significant contributor to macrovascular and microvascular complications of diabetes.
Hypertension silently goes along with diabetes occurring in as many two-third of people with diabetes.
When diabetes and hypertension co-exists, the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles, risk of blood vessel damage increase, increased complications like stroke and kidney failure.
It is important to keep your blood pressure in the check and blood sugar stable. Diet and exercise management are the key lifestyle factors to be adopted and planned properly to keep your sugar level and blood pressure in balance.
The following section suggests what lifestyle modifications you can adapt to manage your diabetes and hypertension, thereby reducing the risk of associated complications as mentioned above.
- Increase physical activity
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Reduce Salt Intake
- Increase potassium intake
- Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages
- Consume diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products
- Managing stress
- Final Words
- Frequently Asked Questions
Increase physical activity
Physical activity is very important to control the diabetes and hypertension. Moderate intensive physical activity can burn the excess energy in our body which comes from our diet and thus prevents the forming of fat cells. Thereby, preventing from being obese, a major cause of type 2 diabetes.
In addition, increased physical activity has a direct beneficial effect on lowering the blood pressure. Therefore, a regular aerobic or physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high intensity is recommended.
Maintain a healthy body weight
Being overweight or obesity is the biggest challenge to manage diabetes. It increases the risk for high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure which is also a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Maintaining a healthy body weight prevents the blood sugar rise. Modest weight loss is also positively associated with the blood pressure.
Limit alcohol consumption
According to studies, high alcohol intake is associated with elevated blood pressure. Alcohol consumption keeps your liver engaged in metabolizing it and thus prevents the liver from releasing stored sugar to make up for falling blood sugar levels. Therefore, excess intake of alcohol may lower the blood sugar level sharply.
Studies show that a reduction in alcohol intake for moderate to heavy drinkers lowers the blood pressure to a small extent. Thus, recommendations are to limit the alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women among those who drink.
Evidence from various studies show that tobacco smoking can increase the risk for both hypertension and diabetes.
Smoking with diabetes has a higher risk of serious complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blood vessel damage and nerve damage.
Moreover, adding in smoking to the diabetes increases hypertension and multiplies the risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke by many times.
Reduce salt intake
A high salt intake adversely affect blood pressure. So, it is important to watch the sodium intake in the foods. Studies have documented that a reduced sodium intake can prevent hypertension and thus can potentially prevent cardiovascular events in overweight individuals.
Thus, processed foods or canned foods contains high sodium and are to be avoided.
Studies shows that reduction in sodium alone or combined with weight loss can reduce the incidence of hypertension by approximately 20%. So, consumers should choose foods low in salt and limit the amount of salt added to food. In its place, you can use herbs, spices other seasonings to flavour the food.
Increase potassium intake
In contrast to the direct relationship of salt intake with high blood pressure, high levels of potassium are associated with low blood pressure. A high dietary intake of potassium can be achieved through diet rather than pills.
The preferred strategy is to increase potassium intake is to consume foods in rich potassium rather than supplements.
Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages
Sugar-sweetened beverages are high in simple sugars. Thus, their consumption can cause the rise of blood sugar quickly for diabetic individuals.
Consume diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products
The kind of diet we take is very crucial in managing diabetes and blood pressure. Therefore, the food that we eat or what nutrients we get from that food affects the level of blood sugar in our body.
The most effective or healthy diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, or we can say a vegetarian diet. So, consumption of healthy and non-fatty diet can lower cholesterol and help control your weight.
Not only physical health but you should also be mentally healthy to manage your diabetes. Therefore, you should be stress free for your emotional well-being.
When you are stressed and anxious, it raises your blood sugar level and may not manage your diabetes well.
Stress triggers various unhealthy responses, including overeating, drinking too much alcohol, procrastinating and not sleeping enough. These are again risk factors for triggering diabetes and blood pressure.
You can adopt various stress management techniques, yoga and meditations to relieve the stress.
Lifestyle modifications play important roles for the management of diabetes and hypertension among individuals. Thus, bringing simple changes to your diet intake and physical activity can keep your blood sugar level and blood pressure in balance.
Lifestyle modifications can serve as initial treatment before the start of drug therapy. It has the potential to reduce high blood sugar and blood pressure thus lowering the risk of associated complications, mainly the risk of heart attack or stroke. These risks are very high to the individuals with diabetes and blood pressure combined.
So, it becomes very important for you to adapt the measures of lifestyle changes as discussed in above section and always keep a track of your blood sugar level and blood pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels when it is pumped by the heart throughout the body.
A condition of high blood pressure is termed as Hypertension and low blood pressure is termed as Hypotension.
A blood pressure reading has a upper value and a lower value. Normal blood pressure range is not more than 120 for upper value and not less than 80 for lower value i.e (120/80)
Diabetes is a condition in which our body is not able to produce enough or no insulin. Insulin helps to transport energy from the food to the cells in the form of glucose. Hence, low insulin or insulin resistance will tend to rise the sugar level in your blood thus generating the condition for obesity and diabetes.
Blood sugar level is precisely measured on a fasting condition of for at least 8 hours. The normal range of fasting blood sugar is 70 to 90 mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre).