~ Florence Brown, M.D.
Checking your blood pressure is one of the most important things you can do when you have diabetes. By keeping your blood pressure in check you can avoid serious complications such as heart failure, stroke, and kidney and eye disease.
At Joslin we recommend that you have your blood pressure measured at every medical visit, or at least once a year. You should aim for blood pressure readings of less than 130/80 mmHg. If you already have complications due to diabetes, such as kidney disease, your blood pressure goal may be different. Ask your healthcare provider what your goal should be.
How the test works
Getting your blood pressure measured is quick and easy. A blood pressure cuff is wrapped around your upper left arm. The cuff is then inflated, and the healthcare provider who is taking the blood pressure reading will track your heart sounds as the cuff is released. Often, your pulse will be checked after your blood pressure is measured.
How to lower your blood pressure
Lifestyle changes can help lower your blood pressure. A healthy eating plan, physical activity, losing weight if you need to, lowering stress and cutting back on salt and caffeine all have a positive effect. Medication can also play an important role in regulating blood pressure. In some cases, your provider may ask you to check your blood pressure at home using a home blood pressure monitor. Checking your blood pressure between medical visits gives your provider valuable information to help him or her better adjust your treatment plan.
Remember, with proper treatment and management of blood pressure, you can live a long and healthy life and reduce your chances of getting complications from high blood pressure. Know your blood pressure goal and take the necessary steps to keep it under good control.
Page last updated: December 10, 2013