High blood pressure is the main risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases and on May 17, World Hypertension Day is observed every year in order to raise awareness and promote hypertension or high blood pressure prevention, detection, and control. Poor lifestyle choices, including lack of exercise (sedentary) and poor dietary choices, are some of the main causes of hypertension. If not addressed in time, can lead to the risk of having heart disease or stroke. Also, hypertension is linked to another common but serious lifestyle disorder – diabetes, of high blood sugar. Dr Sanjay Raina, Head, Department of Internal Medicine, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad, explains how.
How Hypertension And Diabetes Are Linked
Hypertension (High Blood pressure) and Diabetes (High Blood Sugar) are linked together in many ways. Hypertension and Diabetes are two lifestyle disorders that are quite common in the general population. Dr Sanjay Raina points out:
– Both are chronic conditions due to multiple factors and are especially related to lifestyle, stress, and obesity.
– Both conditions are major risk factors for atherosclerosis leading to ischemic heart disease and stroke, which is the major cause of death in the world. It is important to note that the combined effect of Hypertension and Diabetes is super-additive in causing these diseases.
– In addition to cardiovascular disease both Hypertension and Diabetes cause microvascular complications leading to blindness, chronic kidney disease, etc.
Hypertension and Diabetes: Risk Factors For Each Other
It is interesting to observe that Hypertension and Diabetes in themselves are risk factors for each other in a bidirectional way. Dr Raina says that in the Hong Kong Cardiovascular Risk Factor Prevalence Study, 58% of people with diabetes had high blood pressure and 44% of people with hypertension had high glucose levels. He adds, “In the US population, hypertension occurs in approximately 30% of patients with type 1 diabetes and in 50% to 80% of patients with type 2 diabetes. A prospective cohort study reported that type 2 diabetes mellitus was almost 2.5 times as likely to develop in people with hypertension as compared to people with normal blood pressure.”
World Hypertension Day 2023: Keep Blood Pressure In Check
Studies have revealed that the causative mechanisms linking the two conditions – Hypertension and Diabetes – are multifactorial and range from genetic alterations to lifestyle issues like smoking and obesity, says Dr Raina. He shares, “It is very important to keep blood pressure in control to prevent the myriad of diseases it causes. This is more so in people with diabetes who are already prone to these diseases.”
According to Dr Raina, things that help control high blood pressure and prevent damage to organs are:
- Control blood sugar in people with diabetes
- Smoking cessation
- A balanced healthy diet
- Regular exercise for more than 45 minutes on most days and be more active
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Stopping or moderating alcohol intake
- Decreasing salt intake
- Engaging in stress-relieving activities
- Regular follow-up with your doctor for assessment and compliance with the prescribed treatment