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Diabetes & High Blood Pressure: All You Need To Know

Last reviewed: 20 Jan 2022

Medically Reviewed By: Dr Jay Shah

Resource Hub / Miscellaneous conditions Diabetes & High Blood Pressure: All You Need To Know

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that causes significant increases to a person’s blood sugar level (which can be categorised as dysglycemia).

There are 3 types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes – when your immune system attacks insulin-producing cells
  • Type 2 diabetes – when your body can’t produce enough insulin
  • Gestational diabetes – when someone is pregnant, the person’s blood glucose levels may be so high that their body can’t produce enough insulin to absorb it

Diabetes is lifelong but, in the case of gestational diabetes, it can go away after childbirth when blood sugar levels should return to normal.

What happens when you have diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Fatigue
  • Urinating more than usual
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Vision loss or blurred vision
  • Frequent episodes of thrush
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Feeling very thirsty

Development of symptoms differ between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 symptoms develop within days or weeks but Type 2 can take years to diagnose as the symptoms are quite mild.

How are high blood pressure and diabetes linked?

High blood pressure (hypertension) affects both forms of diabetes by putting a strain on your heart and kidneys, leading to kidney and heart disease.

According to a 2012 study, there are common overlaps between diabetes and hypertension so people are often diagnosed with both conditions.

Below is a table of commonly shared risk factors for hypertension and diabetes:

Risk factor Hypertension Diabetes Is this changeable?
Obesity Yes Yes Yes
Genetics Yes Yes No
Inflammation Yes Yes Yes
Oxidative stress Yes Yes Yes
Race or ethnicity Yes Yes No
Age Yes Yes No
Lack of physical exercise Yes Yes Yes

 

According to Medical News Today, diabetes can be associated with  high blood pressure and vice versa. An inability for the body to absorb insulin can cause significant strain and damage to blood vessel, increasing the risk of hypertension. 

Read our guides on strokes and blood pressure, exercise as a way to lower blood pressure, and a guide to hypertension.

Prevention and treatment

Prevention

Knowing these overlaps also means prevention and treatment are easier to combat both conditions. For the risk factors that can be changed, you can make small changes in your lifestyle to drastically reduce the risk of diabetes including:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Regular blood pressure monitoring
  • A balanced diet

Before you make any major changes to your diet or physical activity, please speak to a doctor first.

Treatment

The main treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin injections. For type 2 diabetes, treatments include lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and dietary changes, medications and/or insulin. Regular blood sugar monitoring is also strongly recommended for both.

Conclusion

As high blood pressure and diabetes share so many common symptoms and causes, it’s important to maintain normal BP and blood sugar levels. We recommend regular blood pressure monitoring as a simple but effective way to help alongside blood sugar monitoring.

Aktiia Team Written by The Aktiia Team

Our mission is to help people live free from hypertension.

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