Diabetes and Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure and DiabetesThree out of every five clients who have diabetes along with blood pressure seem to consider blood pressure as a ‘minor’ issue and diabetes to be the major issue. In reality, high blood pressure puts severe strain on the kidneys, heart, arteries and other organs all of which depend on being nourished through adequate blood supply. Any alteration in the pressure and flow of the blood supply is analogous to driving a car with clogged fuel lines – the car will either drive very slowly due to fuel starvation or proceed in bursts and spurts depending on the flow of gas. Cut to the human body and you have the same effect except, all you might feel are some stab like sensations and that too, if you’re paying attention to your body.

If you have diabetes you should aim to keep your blood pressure well controlled. Having high blood pressure is one of several ‘risk factors’ that can increase your chance of developing heart disease, a stroke and some other complications. Treatment includes a change in lifestyle risk factors where these can be improved. Many people with diabetes and blood pressure need to take medication to lower their blood pressure.

I’m a dietician and personal trainer specializing in nutrition and physical fitness for diabetics. I’ve written several dozen blogs covering various aspects of diabetes including symptoms, monitoring, explaining glycaemic index, carbohydrate counting, and correlation between body weight, lifestyle and diabetes and so on. Today I intend to blog on relation between diabetes and blood pressure and why blood pressure and diabetes can be a deadly combination.

It isn’t for fun that the medical practitioners labeled blood pressure as a ‘silent killer’. All our organs indeed, every part of our body including hair and skin need nourishment that is supplied via the blood vessels. This nourishment needs to keep coming in a steady flow that is typically achieved only when your blood pressure is ‘normal’ i.e. 120/80 or near normal. Variations due to physical activity are normal and not a cause for concern. If your blood pressure is 140/90 or more then you need to visit your doctor and have the issue addressed.

Mild increases in blood pressure can be addressed through lifestyle changes that might include exercising regularly, drastic reduction in number of cigarettes smoked or preferably, quit smoking, a reduction in body fat and keeping a check on your salt intake and overall intake of food i.e. counting your calories. Ideally, you would want to consult your doctor, a dietician and a physical trainer in that order.

A doctor will recommend what changes are required. The dietician and physical trainer – if they are two different individuals will need to work together and this can sometimes be a daunting task so ideally, you need to consult a dietician-cum-personal trainer – someone like myself. This combination of skills is vital because food and exercise are deeply inter-related. The kind of food you eat, how much you eat, when you eat shares a deep connection with when you exercise, what kind of exercise you do and the level of intensity.

The moment the doctor specifies diet and exercise, too many people simply rush off and do their own thing. At best they end up with poor results, at worst they end up complicating an already delicate situation. Folks, there’s more than meets the eye here so please consult.

Click for more info: Diabetes information and Glucose levels chart

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