High blood pressure or hypertension is something type 2 diabetics should vigilantly watch out for. According to statistics, two thirds or 66 percent of type 2 diabetics are also diagnosed to have high blood pressure. The normal blood pressure for everyone is 120/80 mmHg and a reading of 140/90 mmHg suggests hypertension. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes have to maintain blood pressure levels below 130/80 mmHg. However, for some reasons type 2 diabetics go beyond this prescribed level.
What Causes High Blood Pressure in Type 2 Diabetes?
The elevated blood sugar level in type 2 diabetes is one of the causes. Imagine what happens to blood when it is full of sugar? It becomes really viscous that its ability to flow is decreased. The sticky blood needs increased pressure to flow in the arteries and into the heart. Another cause would be the reduction in Nitric Oxide (NO) levels in the arteries of diabetic patients. Nitric oxide is a substance that allows blood flow and maintains the pliability of the blood vessels. Low NO levels lead to stiffness and hardening of the blood vessels, which then increases blood pressure. Increased fluid volume in diabetes also contributes to hypertension. Another culprit would be high insulin levels in the blood or hyperinsulinemia. Insulin has direct effects on the vascular system and at the same time encourages sodium retention.
What is the Recommended Treatment?
The following medications are usually used for blood pressure control in people with type 2 diabetes:
- Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors or ACE inhibitors are the drugs with the suffix "pril" such as Captopril, Benazepril, and Fosinopril. ACE inhibotors reduce levels by dilating the blood vessels. It does this by blocking the action of Angiotensin II, a chemical that narrows the arteries.
- Beta blockers or Beta adrenergic blockers are the "olol" drugs like metoprolol, betaxolol, and atenolol. They work by blocking the hormones norephinephrine and epinephrine, causing the blood vessels to widen to allow more blood flow.
- Calcium Channel Blockers or CCBs are those drugs with "ipine" at the end like felodipine, amlodipine, and nifedipine. They prevent calcium deposits in the arterial lining which can obstruct blood flow and increase pressure.
- Thiazide diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide works by decreasing fluid volume in the body, as a means of reducing levels.
Lifestyle changes like eating foods low in carbohydrates and fat, increasing physical activities, and avoiding unhealthy habits improve the effects of these drugs on blood pressure levels. Bear in mind that, blood pressure control is an important part of diabetes management because its elevations increase the risk for diabetic-related complications. Diabetics who currently have or have had hypertension have higher chances of suffering from stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.