- what can we do to help yourself?
Treating high blood pressure in people with diabetes
has many positive effects on their long term health. Effective treatment
reduces the risk of strokes, heart attacks and other circulatory problems
especially those affecting the kidneys and the eyes.
blood pressure is high, you should make changes in your lifestyle which
help to control blood pressure. Most people with diabetes need one or
more medications. In order for the medication to be effective it is crucial
to address lifestyle factors at the same time. Changes to lifestyle will
make the tablets more effective. These are the main changes you can make:
Cut down on your salt intake. We each
eat about 10gms of salt each day and this can be easily reduced to 5gms
each day. Most salt comes from processed foods and this may not be obvious.
Avoid using high salt foods and don’t add salt
to food. Cut down on fat. Fat increases the amount of cholesterol in
your blood. Eat more fruit and vegetable: everyone should aim to eat
at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Fruits and vegetables
contain potassium, which has the opposite effect of salt and can help
lower blood pressure.
Be more active. Being active can help
you lower your blood pressure. It will also help you to lose weight and
reduce the amount of fats in your blood. Being active does not mean a
fitness fanatic. It can mean walking regularly and gradually increasing
the amount you do over three to six months. You are aiming to be active
for at least 30 minutes, five times a week.
Watch your weight
Find and try to reach your ideal weight:
What your ideal weight is will depend on how tall you are and whether
you are male or female. If you are overweight you should try and get
down to a weight within the ideal range for you. Certainly don’t
put weight on.
Alcohol and smoking
Drink alcohol in moderation. If you
are a man you should be drinking no more than 3 units per day and if
you are a woman you should be drinking no more than 2 units per day.
If you are regularly drinking over these amounts then it is likely to
affect your blood pressure and you should cut back. Smoking is the biggest
risk factor for having a heart attack – smoking
and blood pressure do not mix.
Take your tablets
No one likes taking tablets but missing
blood pressure tablets causes confusion to your medical team and can
harm you if the blood pressure swings up and down out of control. If
tablets are not suiting you, tell your medical team – there
are many options.
advice and what care to expect.
Your medical team should be able to
advice you about lifestyle measures and help you to understand the
diet and exercise needs. They can give support and treatment if you want
to stop smoking. They will explain your medication to you and adjust
it if it is not suiting you.