Cutting Blood Pressure Early in Diabetes

Hypertensive diabetes patients benefit from early control of blood pressure

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Diabetes patients need to control not only their blood sugar, but also their blood pressure. Rising blood pressure can lead to complications in diabetes. Tackling high blood pressure early may prevent heart problems.

Failing to control blood pressure within 1 year of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) may boost the risk of major heart problems among people with diabetes.

"Control your blood pressure to prevent serious health problems."

In their recent study, Patrick J. O'Connor, MD, MPH, MA, of HealthPartners Research Foundation in Minneapolis, and colleagues found that diabetes patients with higher blood pressure levels in the first year of hypertension were more likely to have a major heart problem within three years, compared to those with lower blood pressure levels.

Blood pressure is a two-number measurement. The top number is your systolic pressure, or the pressure of blood when your heart pumps or contracts. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, or the pressure of blood when your heart rests and refills.

As many as two out of three adults with diabetes have high blood pressure.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes try to reach a blood pressure target lower than that of the general public, or less than 130/80 mmHg.

Dr. O'Connor and colleagues found that rates of major heart problems were higher in diabetes patients with a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg in the first year of hypertension, compared to those with lower blood pressure.

Rates of major heart problems among patients with a blood pressure of less than 130/80 mmHg were 5.10 events per 1,000 person years. In comparison, rates of major heart problems among those with blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or more were 6.94 events per 1,000 person years.

When the researchers used a different measure of heart risk - called the Framingham Risk Score - patients with a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or more were about 1.3 times more likely to suffer a major heart problem.

According to the authors, early control of high blood pressure in patients with diabetes may have short-term benefits.

The study included 15,665 diabetes patients with recently developed high blood pressure.

The research was published September 10 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

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Review Date: 
September 12, 2012
Last Updated:
September 12, 2012