People with diabetes have a greater tendency to get high blood pressure (HBP). Both diabetes and high blood pressure, individually, are risks for a variety of complications including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. When you have diabetes and HBP at the same time, your risk of developing serious health issues increases significantly.
How would you know if you have hypertension? You probably wouldn't, unless you get it checked. There are typically no symptoms. However, people with significantly elevated blood pressure may notice signs like dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath, or blurry vision.Home monitoring kits are also available and are easy-to-use. Every morning when you get up, before you start puttering around, sit down calmly for a few minutes before taking your blood pressure. Blood pressure naturally varies throughout the day, to try to take your read around the same time every day so that you can see any patterns that develop. Write down your readings so that you can show it to your doctor if need be.
Diabetics should try to keep their blood pressure at 130/80 or lower. Even if you are pre-hypertensive -- readings of 120-139/80-89 -- over a continued period of time, your risk of developing heart disease can double or even triple.
Here is a good video that explains how diabetes and hypertension are related, in a simple and easy-to-understand way:
Even if you have yet to be diagnosed as diabetic, you're at greater risk for high blood pressure if you have a family history of diabetes or hypertension, or if you are obese. Age doesn't matter.
Due to the combined risk of complications for people with both diabetes and hypertension, medications are usually recommended to quickly get blood pressure under control. Lifestyle changes that are part of a diabetes treatment plan, such as diet, exercise, and weight loss, are also done simultaneously to help keep both blood sugar and blood pressure well-controlled. It also helps to limit salt intake and stop smoking. Some medications have side effects, including possible effects on blood sugar, so discuss them with your doctor.