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Prevention Of High Blood Pressure And Type 2 Diabetes

Lifestyle factors are crucial for managing both blood glucose and blood pressure.

A healthy weight

For people with excess weight, losing even a little can help reduce the risk of both high blood pressure and diabetes.

For people with excess weight, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) point out that if a person loses 3–5%Trusted Source of their weight, it can improve their blood pressure readings.

Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that losing 5–7%Trusted Source of body weight can help stop prediabetes from becoming diabetes. That would be a loss of 10–14 pounds for a person who weighs 200 pounds.

Activity

Regular activity can lower blood pressure and help control blood sugar, and it offers many other health benefits.

Current guidelinesTrusted Source encourage everyone to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise. Moderate exercise includes walking and swimming.

Those who have not been active for a while should speak to their doctor for advice on a sensible exercise plan.

Healthful dietary choices

People with diabetes and hypertension should talk to their doctor about a dietary plan.

This will usually include:

  • eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • focusing on high-fiber foods, including whole grains
  • limiting the amount of added salt and sugar
  • avoiding or limiting unhealthful fats, such as trans fats and animal fats

Doctors often recommend the DASH dietTrusted Source for managing blood sugar and overall wellbeing.

Learn more here about what to eat on the DASH diet.

A person with diabetes will need to monitor their intake of carbohydrates and check their blood glucose levels to ensure they meet the targets that their treatment plan sets out.

Limiting alcohol consumption

High consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of:

  • raised blood pressureTrusted Source
  • blood glucose spikes
  • weight gain

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend a maximum of one alcoholic drink per day for women and two alcoholic drinks per day for men.

One drink would be one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5-ounce serving of spirits, such as whiskey, gin, or vodka.

Mixers can also add carbohydrates and calories. Sparkling water is a more healthful option than sweetened soda.

An individual may wish to speak to their doctor about how much alcohol is safe for them to consume.

Not smoking

There is evidenceTrusted Source that tobacco smoking can increase the risk of both high blood pressure and diabetes.

Smokers with diabetes have a higher riskTrusted Source of serious complications, including:

  • heart or kidney disease
  • retinopathy, an eye disease that may lead to blindness
  • poor blood flow, making infection and the risk of amputation more likely in the legs and feet
  • peripheral neuropathy, which can cause nerve pain in the arms and legs

A person who has or is at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, or both can speak to their doctor about how to quit smoking.

Treatment with medication

In addition to lifestyle measures, a doctor may prescribe medications as follows:

Type 1 diabetes: The person will need insulin and possibly blood pressure and other medications, depending on any complications they have.

Type 2 diabetes: Some people will need to use insulin, or a doctor may prescribe metformin or other non-insulin medications to help reduce blood sugar levels. They may also need medications for high blood pressure or other complications.

Current guidelines also recommend using one of the following if a person with type 2 diabetes has a high risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes-related kidney disease, or both.

  • sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2)
  • glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists

These drugs offer protection to the heart and kidneys by helping control blood sugar levels.

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