High blood pressure is one of many silent, yet deadly, health conditions. On its own, high blood pressure – also called hypertension – is dangerous because it can damage your heart and lead to serious heart problems such as a heart attack, increase the risk of stroke and lead to kidney problems that could result in kidney failure needing dialysis.
High blood pressure is even more dangerous when diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition where your body can not either produce enough insulin or use it properly. Insulin helps get the blood sugar out of the blood vessels and into the body’s many cells for energy.
About two out of three people who have diabetes also develop hypertension or have to take medication to manage their high blood pressure.
If left untreated, diabetes and hypertension can lead to severe complications such as developing heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Those who have diabetes and hypertension are four times as likely to develop those conditions as opposed to individuals who don’t have diabetes or hypertension.
Did you know there are more than two types of diabetes? When most people think of diabetes, they think of eating too much sugar (type 2) or having to take insulin (type 1), but there are others out there that you can develop:
- Prediabetes: With prediabetes, there are no symptoms. Many people have it, but may not be aware of it. To test for prediabetes, you would need to have a blood test to see where your levels are in relation to the normal range and diabetes range.
- Gestational diabetes: A condition where a pregnant woman’s body cannot properly regulate glucose levels in their blood which can lead to their blood sugar being too high.
- Type 1 diabetes: The body attacks all of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and the body can no longer create any of its own.
- Type 2 diabetes: Pancreas still makes insulin but not enough, or the body can’t use it the way it’s supposed to, due to body weight gain.
Managing your hypertension and diabetes can be stressful. Between the numerous doctor appointments and keeping records of blood pressure and glucose levels, it can be hard to keep up with your care. At the UofL Physicians – Diabetes and Obesity Center, our goal is to:
- Elevate the health status of our community by raising awareness of the risks for diabetes and heart disease
- Facilitate prevention and management programs
- Be a resource to our patients and community health care providers
- Support researchers in their efforts to fight the growing epidemic of diabetes and obesity
Need more help? The UofL Health Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long program to help give you the skills you need to lose weight, be more active and manage stress. A trained lifestyle coach facilitates the sessions and you will gain support from other participants that share your goals. For more information, call 502-588-4499.