Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a daunting experience, with a lot to learn regarding lifestyle changes and other modifications necessary in order to remain healthy. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common side effect of living with diabetes and can be damaging to long-term health. Luckily, there are several strategies which can help prevent and control dangerously high blood pressure levels.
1. Increase Physical Activity
Increasing the amount of physical activity is perhaps the most critical lifestyle change to make when managing diabetes, and often has a direct impact on preventing and controlling high blood pressure levels. Because exercise changes how the heart functions and affects the metabolic system, it can help make the body more efficient in controlling blood pressure. Exercise also helps reduce stress, which is often a major contributor to high blood pressure.
2. Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
Managing blood sugar levels is a critical way to reduce the risk of high blood pressure in those living with diabetes. If blood sugar levels are allowed to fluctuate too frequently, the possibility of diabetes related hypertension increases. To prevent this, those living with diabetes should be certain to monitor blood sugar levels regularly and practice strategies that can help maintain a consistent level.
3. Reduce Sodium Intake
Those with diabetes are often advised to reduce their sodium intake. Excessive amounts of salt (sodium) can lead to fluid retention in the body, which causes blood pressure levels to rise. Reducing or eliminating excess sodium can help manage hypertension, however, reducing sodium without consulting a healthcare professional should be avoided as it is often necessary to consume salt to stay healthy.
4. Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced and heart-healthy diet is an important way to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Many foods are high in fats, cholesterol and salt, which are all things to avoid when managing diabetes. Those with diabetes should focus on eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, as these are proven to reduce the risk of hypertension. Fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, for example, are excellent options for those trying to manage their diabetes related high blood pressure.
5. Take Medication
Prescription medication is often a necessary part of controlling blood pressure in those with diabetes. The type and dosage of medications must be prescribed by a healthcare professional, who will also explain the importance of taking them correctly and regularly, as well as any potential side effects. It is also important to speak with a doctor if any other medical conditions or lifestyle changes are present as these can affect how a medication works.
Living with diabetes can be both a stressful and life-altering experience, and attempting to manage diabetes related high blood pressure can seem daunting. However, by following a few simple habits, such as increasing physical activity, monitoring blood sugar levels, and eating a balanced diet, the risk of high blood pressure levels can be managed and kept under control.