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Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension) often go together. More than two out of three adults with diabetes also have (or are being treated for) high blood pressure, according to the American Diabetes Association, and that’s double the one out of three ratio among people without diabetes. While both conditions are associated with lifestyle factors – excess weight, diet and inactivity – the question of whether one condition “causes” the other is not perfectly clear.

What is perfectly clear, however, is how high blood pressure can multiply the risk for serious diabetes complications, especially heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. And, both conditions share another dangerous characteristic – their symptoms can be unnoticeable. These two facts emphasize how important it is to get routine medical care. Both type 2 diabetes and hypertension can be easily monitored over time, and both are treatable.

Also, both conditions can be managed and improved with lifestyle decisions. Most everyone knows that reducing dietary sodium is a big first step, but there can be benefits beyond sodium from a healthy eating plan. In fact, a specific diet plan developed by the National Institutes of Health, known as the D.A.S.H. diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), has been ranked by a panel of health experts as “Best Diet for Diabetes” in U.S. News and World Report’s annual evaluation of popular diets. Closely controlled clinical trials had already shown the D.A.S.H. diet very effective at lowering blood pressure, especially when blood pressure was already high.

Don’t let high blood pressure put the squeeze on you. Get regular medical care, take your medication if already prescribed, and talk to your healthcare team about the D.A.S.H. diet and increasing your physical activity level. You can take control.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.