A diagnosis of high blood pressure is often not made on its own. Chances are there are other health issues. In fact, high blood pressure is often combined with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease, making it a triple health threat.
“Diabetes can affect small blood vessels. And that can lead to high blood pressure. And that can lead to kidney disease too,” said Dr. Vivek Bhalla, Associate Professor of Nephrology at Stanford University Medical School in California, in a press release.
The connection looks like this: Sugar in the form of carbohydrates provides the body with energy. Carbohydrates are easier to break down into energy than fat or protein. If you eat a lot of high-carbohydrate foods each day, your blood sugar, also known as glucose, can rise frequently. In diabetes, blood sugar is not well regulated. This makes it difficult to remove excess sugar, which could damage the blood vessels.
Damaged blood vessels can stiffen, which increases the risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts stress on the kidneys. It can affect fluid balance, the filtration of waste products, and the production of kidney hormones.
How is high blood pressure related to diabetes? A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that people with high blood pressure were at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. The researchers collected medical records from 4.1 million adults in the UK. They recorded when they were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Then they estimated the risk based on the recorded blood pressure values.
They found that a 20 mm / Hg increase in systolic blood pressure was associated with a 58% higher risk of diabetes. An increase in diastolic blood pressure of 10 mm / Hg was associated with a 52% higher risk. Normal blood pressure values are between 90/60 mm / Hg and below 120/80 mm / Hg. The risk of diabetes can increase from 120/80 mm / Hg. The study could not find the exact cause. Only the relationship between high blood pressure and risk of diabetes was defined.
Systolic blood pressure, the highest number, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is beating. Diastolic measures the pressure in the arteries between beats.
Various diabetes drugs
Two types of diabetes medication can help combat the triple threat.
In a scientific statement published in Circulation, Dr. Janani Rangaswami and colleagues highlight the benefits of using two types of drugs in patients with chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.
One of these is sodium glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2), which prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing blood sugar so that the excess glucose is excreted in the urine. The second drug, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, mimics insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
Together they support the correct regulation of blood sugar. They can also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes. Reports of other ongoing studies are still needed to determine safety and effectiveness. For people with diabetes, your doctor can tell you about these drugs, their benefits, and possible side effects.
What to eat
Diet plays a huge role in the triple threat. For people at or at risk for diabetes or kidney disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend speaking to a doctor and a registered dietitian. Make sure the nutritionist is an expert on diet for diabetes and chronic kidney disease. The two experts can work together to plan a diet that fits your lifestyle.
The diabetic diet is usually high in fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats like whole eggs and oily fish. This means cutting down on salt, as well as sugar and refined carbohydrates in cookies and soda, among other things. The kidney diet focuses on protecting your kidneys. The amount of salt, protein, potassium, and phosphorus that you can consume depends on the stage of the disease.
The best combo food package includes berries, cherries, apples, eggplants, onions, lean fish and poultry, unsalted seafood, white bread, pasta, and unsweetened drinks. Talk to your doctor about how to stick to the diet, especially on a budget. Speak to a nutritionist to find out what recipes you can make out of this diet.