BLOOD PRESSURE, DIABETES, HEART DISEASE AND STROKE
High blood pressure, also called
hypertension, means that the force of the blood inside your
blood vessels is too high. High blood pressure makes the heart
work too hard, and can increase your risk for heart attack and
stroke. People with diabetes are more likely to have high blood
pressure than people without diabetes. In fact, almost 2 out of
3 adults with diabetes have high BP. Both high BP and diabetes
increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, eye problems,
kidney problems, and nerve disease. So if you have both, you
have an even greater risk for other health problems.
What’s the target
blood pressure for people with diabetes?
For most people with diabetes, keeping
blood pressure below 130/80 will help prevent problems. BP is
recorded as two numbers. The first number is the pressure as
your heart beats and pushes blood into the blood vessels
(systolic blood pressure). The second number is the pressure
when your heart rests between beats (diastolic blood pressure).
Both numbers are important.
If my blood pressure is too high, what can
I do to lower it?
1 Use a meal plan
2 Eat less salt
4 Take blood pressure medicine
Several medicines can lower blood pressure.
Some blood pressure medicines have been shown to protect your
kidneys from disease and to reduce your chance for having a
heart attack or stroke. Talk with your endocrinologist about the
best medicine for you. Often, more than one medicine may be
needed to lower your blood pressure.
People with diabetes have extra reason to
be mindful of heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes carries
an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and complications
related to poor circulation.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death
for both men and women with diabetes. CHD is caused by a
narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the
heart, and often results in a heart attack.
Fortunately, everyone can take steps to protect their
heart–and their life or that of someone else. The key is seeking
medical care as soon as possible.
Risk factors are conditions that increase your risk of
developing heart disease. Some can be changed and some cannot.
Although these factors each increase the risk of CHD, they do
not describe all the causes of coronary heart disease; even with
none of these risk factors, you might still develop CHD. The
risk factors are:
High blood pressure
High blood cholesterol
What are the symptoms of CHD?
Chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath may be the
earliest signs of CHD. A person may feel heaviness, tightness,
pain, burning, pressure, or squeezing, usually behind the
breastbone but sometimes also in the arms, neck, or jaws. These
signs usually bring the patient to a doctor for the first time.
Nevertheless, some people have heart attacks without ever having
any of these symptoms.
It is important to know that there is a wide range of
severity for CHD. Some people have no symptoms at all, some have
mild intermittent chest pain, and some have more pronounced and
steady pain. Still others have CHD that is severe enough to make
normal everyday activities difficult.
Because CHD varies so much from one person to another, the
way a doctor diagnoses and treats CHD will also vary a lot.
Are there tests for CHD?
There is no one simple test--some or all of the following
procedures may be needed. These diagnostic procedures are used
to establish CHD, to determine its extent and severity, and to
rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. After taking a
careful medical history and doing a physical examination, the
doctor may use some tests to see how advanced the CHD is. The
only certain way to diagnose and assess the extent of CHD is
coronary angiography; other tests (ECG, exercise stress test,
nuclear scanning) can indicate a problem but may not clearly
show exactly where it is.
How is CHD treated?
CHD is treated in a number of ways, depending on the
seriousness of the disease. For many people, CHD is managed with
lifestyle changes and medications. Others with severe CHD may
need surgery or a balloon procedure. In any case, once CHD
develops, it requires lifelong management.
If you have diabetes, your endocrinologist may suggest that
you go for periodic evaluations to see if there is heart
disease. This is very important so that heart disease may be
halted or treated.