Many people are aware that hypertension is related to blood pressure, but the term has now much more relation to diabetes. Hypertension is when the blood flows through the blood vessels with too much force. This force leads to an increase in blood pressure which is often called hypertension. Moreover, hypertension diabetes can result in many complications including heart disease, kidney failure and blood vessel damage.
But before we get into the risks, here’s what hypertension means in numbers
- Healthy blood pressure: below 120/80
- Early high blood pressure(Prehypertension): between 120/80 and 140/90
- High blood pressure(Hypertension diabetes): 140/90 or higher
Even early high blood pressure can affect your health and may put you at risk. Hence, early diagnosis is necessary to avoid further complications. For that, one should know the symptoms of hypertension diabetes.
As it says, knowledge of the disease is the key to its management, here are some classic symptoms to look out for in hypertensives.
Symptoms of Hypertension
- Shortness of breath
This is one of the first symptoms of hypertension diabetes. Shortness of breath is an uncomfortable or terrifying experience, especially when it has never happened before. It could be because of problems with the lungs or with the heart but its specific cause can sometimes take a while to pinpoint.
- Sweating of feet and legs
Sweating of feet and legs can be a symptom of hypertension diabetes. Though many people face difficulties with sweating, people with diabetes can be facing bigger issues. There are three types of sweating that a diabetic may experience.
- Hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating not caused by exercising or temperature.
- Gustatory sweating: Limited to face and neck areas and is caused by food.
- Night sweats: Mainly caused due to low blood glucose during night
- Difficulty in sleeping
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where you repeatedly stop and start breathing during your sleep. This can disrupt the blood flow as sleep helps to regulate stress hormones and keep the nervous system healthy. It is often said that sleep and blood pressure go hand in hand. Likewise, blood pressure and diabetes go together. Therefore, we can say that sleep has an indirect relation with hypertension diabetes.
- Blurred vision
If you check your eyes, you can see tiny, delicate blood vessels that supply blood to the eyes. Any fluctuation in the blood pressure can easily affect the eye blood vessels as any other. People with diabetes often complain about blurred vision. If you feel difficulty in vision, this may be a sign of hypertension diabetes.
- Confused and impaired memory
Unchecked high blood pressure can cause problems such as shrinking the blood vessels in the brain which can increase the chances of blocking or bursting blood vessel. If the blood vessel that carries oxygen and glucose to the brain is blocked, it can sometimes affect person’s thinking, memory or language skills.
This is one of the most debated symptoms of hypertension diabetes. The relationship between headache and hypertension is a subject of concern to people. However, there are people who have complained about having headache while showing other symptoms of hypertension. Thus, someone experiencing headache are advised to get their blood pressure checked.
Hypertension diabetes can lead to deprivation of conversion of blood glucose to energy. High blood pressure can be a direct link to exhaustion and weakness.
Risks involved with Hypertension in Diabetes
Hypertension diabetes creates force on the artery walls causing a build-up of fatty material on the inside walls of the blood vessels, also known as atherosclerosis. The build-up fatty material is plaque which is formed of fat, vitamins and cholesterol. With time, this fatty material hardens and narrows the blood vessels causing force in blood flow. When the plaque limits the oxygen rich blood to reach various organs of the body, this can lead to serious problems like heart attack, stroke or even death.
The different atherosclerosis related diseases are,
1. Coronary artery disease
Also known as coronary heart disease, this is a condition where the plaque builds up in coronary arteries that supply rich oxygen blood to the heart. If the arteries are not able to supply blood to heart, one may have angina (chest pain) or even heart attack.
2. Cartoid Artery Disease
In Cartoid Artery Disease, the plaque builds up in arteries of each side of the neck. These arteries supply blood to the brain and any blockage in this supply can result in stroke.
3. Peripheral Artery Disease
In this condition, plaque formation is in arteries that supply blood to arms, legs and pelvis. This can lead to numbness, pain and sometimes dangerous infection.
- Heart disease
Hypertension diabetes can also cause heart diseases which include inadequate pumping of blood, enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) and heart tissues not getting enough blood.
- Kidney disease
Hypertension diabetes damages the blood vessels and filters in the kidneys leads to excretion of waste products. When the renal arteries can’t supply oxygen rich blood to kidneys, it leads to chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD results in increased amount of waste in blood which can make you sick. It can also lead to anemia, poor nutritional health, nerve damage and weak bones.
- Eye disease
Hypertension diabetes damages the small blood vessels in the retina leading to blurred vision. As it’s always discussed, the eyes and feet of diabetics are more prone to damage than any other part. The different conditions a hypertensive can experience are,
1. Eye blood vessel damage (retinopathy)
Retinopathy is a condition resulting in impaired vision or even complete loss of vision. A hypertensive diabetic is more prone to retinopathy.
2. Fluid buildup under the retina (choroidopathy)
In this condition, the fluid builds up under your retina due to a leaky blood vessel. This can even lead to blurred vision or some scarring that can damage your vision.
3. Optic neuropathy
This is a condition in which the optic nerve is damaged due to blocked blood flow damages. It can result in damage of nerve cells in your eyes that causes bleeding of eye or loss of vision.
Increase in blood pressure can cause the blood vessels to weaken and bulge, forming an aneurysm. Aneurysm can be life-threatening if it ruptures.
The Big Dos and Dont’s in Hypertension Diabetes
DOs for Hypertensive Diabetics
- Constantly monitor your sugar levels.
- Take foods rich in potassium. The foods that are rich in potassium include avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, yogurt and spinach.
- Include more dietary fibre by eating lots of salads and whole grains.
- Consult your diabetes educator/expert on a regular basis. Follow all clinical assessment (ECG etc) as recommended by your doctor. A little knowledge is a great thing so monitor your blood pressure on regular intervals.
- BMI or Body Mass Index is a measure of body fat based on weight and height. In hypertension diabetes, try to maintain the BMI between 18.9-24.9.
- As it says, good things come to those who sweat. In fact, exercising is known to find ways to boost happiness. Hence, make sure to burn calories because only you can take care of your body.
- Age is one factor which is unavoidable. The risk of increase in blood pressure increases as you age. Men are more likely to have blood pressure in their late 40s and women in their late 60s.
DONT’s for Hypertensive Diabetics
- Limit your salt intake.
We know it is near to impossible to completely avoid salt intake in the diet. When the body consumes more salt, it holds extra water which stiffens the body. Over time, this results in high blood pressure.
- Cut in foods rich in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates.
- Avoid canned and processed foods as they contain high sodium content.
Before buying any canned products, always read the label carefully. This is not just limited to frozen and processed food but on frozen meat and poultry.
- Avoid eating out and fast foods.
Fast foods like fries, soda can increase the cholesterol level. This increase can block the arteries which can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
- Put your cigarette out before it puts you out.
Smoking acutely exerts hypertensive effect. The nicotine in cigarettes narrow down the arteries which can result in high blood pressure.
- Control your alcohol intake or do consult your health practitoner /doctor.
Drinking alcohol has a very adverse impact on the blood pressure levels. More than three drinks can easily result in high blood pressure and binge drinking has other long-time increases.
- Stress is body’s method of telling you to relax. High levels of stress can result in high blood pressure. Try to not be stressed and take out time to relax.
Hypertension diabetes is a silent killer that can turn out to be fatal. A person might be suffering from hypertension for years but would never notice it. It is usually developed over many years and affects almost everyone eventually. Fortunately, hypertension can be diagnosed easily using a blood pressure meter or sphygmomanometer.
As said, even though hypertension diabetes is dangerous and can cost you your life, making few changes in lifestyle and nutrition can benefit you enormously.