Why Is High Blood Pressure So Underdiagnosed And Under
About 1.28 million adults worldwide have high blood pressure, but only 42% have been diagnosed, and 21% have their blood pressure under control. High blood pressure is a major cause of premature death worldwide.4
Blood pressure is the force that circulating blood puts on the inner lining of your blood vessels. The left ventricle in your heart is a muscular chamber that contracts and provides the force that circulates blood throughout your body. When your blood vessels are narrowed due to fatty deposits or stiffened as glucose attaches to proteins in blood vessels, your heart must apply greater force to circulate your blood, and your blood pressure increases.
High blood pressure rarely causes any symptoms. Most people who have high blood pressure donât know they have the condition unless they have their blood pressure checked.
When blood pressure is measured, it is recorded as a ratio of two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure: This higher pressure occurs when the left ventricle contracts.
- Diastolic blood pressure: This lower pressure occurs when the left ventricle relaxes.
The American Heart Association categorizes normal and high blood pressure according to these parameters.
Normal blood pressure
- Systolic blood pressure less than 120 mm Hg
- Diastolic blood pressure less than 80 mm Hg
Elevated blood pressure
- Systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129 mm Hg
- Diastolic blood pressure less than 80 mm Hg
High blood pressure, stage 1
High blood pressure, stage 2
Testing For Heart Disease
Your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight will help your doctor understand your overall risk for heart disease. Your doctor may also recommend other tests to check your heart health, which could include:
- An electrocardiogram to measure your hearts electrical activity. Your heartbeat is the result of an electrical impulse traveling through your heart.
- An echocardiogram to examine how thick your heart muscle is and how well your heart pumps.
- An exercise stress test to see how well your heart functions when its working hard.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
For people with excess weight, losing even a little can help reduce the risk of both high blood pressure and diabetes.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute notes that a of body weight can improve blood pressure readings.
Similarly, the notes that a 57% loss of body weight can help stop prediabetes from developing into diabetes. This equates to a loss of 1014 pounds for a person who weighs 200 pounds.
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American Heart Association News Stories
American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Statements, conclusions, accuracy and reliability of studies published in American Heart Association scientific journals or presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the American Heart Associations official guidance, policies or positions.
Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. Permission is granted, at no cost and without need for further request, for individuals, media outlets, and non-commercial education and awareness efforts to link to, quote, excerpt or reprint from these stories in any medium as long as no text is altered and proper attribution is made to American Heart Association News.
Diabetes And High Blood Pressure: What Is The Relationship
Your blood pressure is one of the most important markers of health especially as a person with any type of diabetes.
High blood pressure is very common in people with diabetes. In fact, the two conditions often go hand-in-hand because they can both result from the same lifestyle factors.
In this article, well discuss what high blood pressure is and what causes it, what is a healthy blood pressure measurement, the link between diabetes and high blood pressure, and what you can do to prevent or lower high blood pressure levels.
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When Blood Sugar Is High What Are The Symptoms
You will notice a lot of symptoms if your blood sugar is high. Early signs include thirst, headache, trouble concentrating, blurred vision, frequent peeing, fatigue, weight loss, vision changes, skin infection, vaginal infection, slow-healing cuts and sores, nerve damage causing painful cold or insensitive feet, loss of hair, erectile dysfunction, stomach and intestinal problems, damage to blood vessels or kidneys and so on.
Many people with uncontrolled high blood sugar find that theyre hungrier than usual. Fatigue and extreme tiredness are also symptoms of uncontrolled blood sugar. You may notice that your vision isnt as clear as it used to be and that things may appear a bit blurry. High blood sugar levels can lead to swollen lenses in your eye from fluid leaking in. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other wounds heal more slowly in the presence of uncontrolled blood sugar.
As mentioned, uncontrolled blood sugar can cause nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy. Blisters, infections, dryness, itchiness, discolorations, and abnormalities of the skin can all be warning signs of high blood sugar. Hyperglycemia may lead to more frequent genital yeast infections.
People With Diabetes And High Blood Pressure Are More At Risk Of Having A Heart Attack Or Stroke So Its Important To Know How To Look After Your Blood Pressure
If you have diabetes, you need your blood pressure checked by a healthcare professional at least once a year. This check is part of your annual review.
If your blood pressure is high , youll need treatment to bring it down. This is because it puts a strain on your blood vessels and can damage them. This can make it harder for blood to flow around the body and reach all the vital areas it needs to, like your heart. And youre more at risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It also puts you more at risk of developing all types of diabetes complications, like serious problems with your feet, your eyes and your kidneys.
Theres lots to help manage your blood pressure because your lifestyle has a direct impact. But lots of people also need to take medication to treat high blood pressure and reduce the risk complications.
Its really important to know that you might have high blood pressure and feel fine, because there arent usually any symptoms. But even if you feel healthy, high blood pressure is damaging your blood vessels and you need to get treatment. Thats why you should never miss a blood pressure check its a free test and takes two minutes.
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/6blood Pressure And Covid Risk
If you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, then the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is too high. When this happens, it puts a pressure on your heart to work harder. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or lower.
Untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious health issues. According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, high blood pressure is also associated with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
High Blood Pressure: Sugar Vs Salt
Typically, people think of salt as bad for blood pressure. However, sugar is actually also responsible for high blood pressure and is a leading cause of it.
Fructose, a type of simple sugar, raises the levels of uric acid in the blood, which in turn inhibits the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is what helps your blood vessels maintain flexibility, so when levels of NO are lowered, you can experience a rise in blood pressure.
In addition, increased sugar consumption can lead to weight gain. Obesity is also a contributor to elevated blood pressure.
Sugar in processed foods is considered a main driver of hypertension, as well. Some sugars are worse than others. In particular, “added sugar,” such as table sugar and syrups used to prepare and process foods, is thought to be more harmful than naturally occurring sugars like those in fruit and milk.
Furthermore, research suggests that sugar intake can actually increase salt sensitivity, leading to the enhanced negative effects of sodium on blood pressure. A 2017 research study, in fact, discovered an association between sugar intake and high blood pressure in older women.
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How Does Blood Sugar Regulate
Most of the time, glucose levels increase after you eat a meal. When blood sugar rises, cells in the pancreas release insulin, causing the body to absorb glucose from the blood and lowering the blood sugar level to normal.
The human body wants blood glucose maintained in a very narrow range. Insulin and glucagon are the hormones which make this happen. Both insulin and glucagon are secreted from the pancreas, and thus are referred to as pancreatic endocrine hormones. Regulation of blood glucose is largely done through the endocrine hormones of the pancreas, a beautiful balance of hormones achieved through a negative feedback loop. The main hormones of the pancreas that affect blood glucose include insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and amylin.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the pressure your heart uses to push blood through your blood vessels and around your body.
There are two numbers used to describe blood pressure and its measured in millimetres of mercury . Its written like this: 130/80mmHg. And youll hear your doctor say ‘130 over 80’.
The first number is the systolic pressure. This is the most amount of pressure your heart uses when beating to push the blood around your body.
The second number is the diastolic pressure. This is the least amount of pressure your heart uses when it is relaxed between beats.
Using 130/80mmHg as an example, the systolic pressure here is 130mmHg and the diastolic pressure is 80mmHg.
Our video below explains all about blood pressure, and how it affects people with diabetes.
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When To See A Medical Provider
If you have a family history of high blood pressure, talk to your healthcare provider about blood pressure screening and how often to do this.
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, speak with your medical provider about how to avoid low blood sugar. Also know the signs of severely high blood pressure and severely low blood sugar, both of which warrant immediate medical attention.
Signs of severely low blood sugar include:
- Extreme weakness
What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar, or glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It comes from the food you eat, and is your bodys main source of energy. Your blood carries glucose to all of your bodys cells to use for energy.
The sugar that isnt needed to fuel your body right away gets stored in cells for later use. Too much sugar in your blood can be harmful.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease thats characterized by having higher levels of blood sugar than whats considered within normal limits. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.
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Sweet Pressure: Scientists Discover Link Between High Blood Pressure And Diabetes
- University of Bristol
- The long-standing enigma of why so many patients suffering with high blood pressure also have diabetes has finally been cracked by an international team.
The long-standing enigma of why so many patients suffering with high blood pressure also have diabetes has finally been cracked by an international team led by the universities of Bristol, UK, and Auckland, New Zealand.
The important new discovery has shown that a small protein cell glucagon-like peptide-1 couples the body’s control of blood sugar and blood pressure.
Professor Julian Paton, a senior author, and Director of Manaaki Mãnawa — The Centre for Heart Research at the University of Auckland, said: “We’ve known for a long time that hypertension and diabetes are inextricably linked and have finally discovered the reason, which will now inform new treatment strategies.”
The research, published online ahead of print in Circulation Research today , involved contributions from collaborating scientists in Brazil, Germany, Lithuania, and Serbia, as well as the UK and New Zealand.
GLP-1 is released from the wall of the gut after eating and acts to stimulate insulin from the pancreas to control blood sugar levels. This was known but what has now been unearthed is that GLP-1 also stimulates a small sensory organ called the carotid body located in the neck.
The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Health Research Council of New Zealand.
What Are Risk Factors For Hyperglycemia
Major risk factors for hyperglycemia are:
- You have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
- You are African American, Native American, Hispanic or Asian American.
- You are overweight.
- You have high blood pressure or cholesterol.
- You have polycystic ovarian syndrome .
- You have a history of gestational diabetes.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperglycemia
Its especially important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia if you have type 1 diabetes. If hyperglycemia is left untreated in people with type 1 diabetes, it can develop into ketoacidosis, where ketones, which are toxic acids, build up in the blood. This condition is an emergency situation that can lead to coma or death.
Early symptoms of hyperglycemia include:
- High blood sugar.
- Unusual fruity smell on the breath.
- Deep labored breathing or hyperventilation.
- Rapid heartbeat.
High Blood Pressure: Symptoms And Tests
Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body each day. The force at which the blood is pumped through your arteries is called blood pressure.
High blood pressure rarely has symptoms. The only way to know if you have it is to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor.
Elevated blood pressure doesn’t usually have symptoms. This is why itâs nicknamed the “silent killer.”
According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of Americans over the age of 20 have high blood pressure. Half of those with high blood pressure do not know they have it.
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What Should Your Blood Pressure Be
Readings vary, but most people with diabetes should have a blood pressure of no more than 130/80.
The first, or top, number is the “systolic pressure,” or the pressure in your arteries when your heart squeezes and fills the vessels with blood. The second, or bottom, number is the “diastolic pressure,” or the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats, filling itself with blood for the next contraction.
When it comes to preventing diabetes complications, normal blood pressure is as important as good control of your blood sugar levels.
How Diabetes Affects Your Heart
Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart. People with diabetes are also more likely to have other conditions that raise the risk for heart disease:
- High blood pressure increases the force of blood through your arteries and can damage artery walls. Having both high blood pressure and diabetes can greatly increase your risk for heart disease.
- Too much LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream can form plaque on damaged artery walls.
- High triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is thought to contribute to hardening of the arteries.
None of these conditions has symptoms. Your doctor can check your blood pressure and do a simple blood test to see if your LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels are high.
These factors can also raise your risk for heart disease:
- Being overweight or having obesity
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Eating a diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium
- Drinking too much alcohol
People with diabetes are also more likely to have heart failure. Heart failure is a serious condition, but it doesnt mean the heart has stopped beating it means your heart cant pump blood well. This can lead to swelling in your legs and fluid building up in your lungs, making it hard to breathe. Heart failure tends to get worse over time, but early diagnosis and treatment can help relieve symptoms and stop or delay the condition getting worse.
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How Your Body Regulates Blood Pressure
A similar set of processes apply to maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. In many ways, keeping your blood pressure in a good range is even more critical than keeping your blood glucose in a good range. Your body has a myriad of ways to make more blood sugar as well as making alternative sources of energy like ketones. But we dont have any way to make more blood pressure. The body can protect blood glucose levels much better than it can protect blood pressure. If we are experiencinglow blood volume, we cant add more instantly. If we dont have enough blood, we will pass out and this is very dangerous to the brain and body long term.
With limited options for raising blood pressure, the body relies on the same hormones that get activated when blood glucose is lowcatecholamine, or adrenalin, hormonesto affect this change. Catecholamines tighten up our blood vessels, making it harder for the heart to pump the blood through our arteries, which raises blood pressure.
People with, a condition in which blood pressure is elevated, dont lack the ability to control their blood pressure. But like the person with diabetes, their sensors are impaired and their response to high or low blood pressure isnt always on the mark.