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High Blood Pressure and Diabetic Kidney Disease

High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the principal causes of diabetic kidney disease and kidney failure.

When blood pressure is high, there is a large amount of tension inside the blood vessels that leads to damage. These vessels may close off completely which can cause a heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. 

High blood sugar and high cholesterol can also damage blood vessels. Thus people with diabetes who also have hypertension are at especially high risk for blood vessel damage.

It usually takes years for blood vessels to completely close off and damage to blood vessels can be slowed down or reversed with treatment.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of high blood pressure can only be done by having your blood pressure measured by a person trained in taking blood pressures.   Usually, there are no symptoms that can tell you that you have high blood pressure.  In diabetic patients the blood pressure is considered high if it is greater than 130/80.

Your blood pressure should be measured on multiple occasions as blood pressures vary normally throughout the day and it is normal to have occasional high pressures.  Blood pressure should be taken after you have rested for 5 minutes and may be taken sitting or standing.  

Your healthcare providers may ask you to check your blood pressure at home and record the readings as part of your blood pressure management.

Treatment

There are multiple ways to control your blood pressure. The first step is lifestyle changes. Most patients will also need one or several medications to achieve good blood pressure control.

Lifestyle Changes

Your diet and lifestyle can directly affect blood pressure. For example, too much salt, alcohol, or caffeine intake leads to your body increase your blood pressure.  Your weight also affects your blood pressure. Increased weight leads to fluid retention and the extra fat releases hormones that make blood pressure to rise.

Thus weight loss, lowering salt , alcohol and caffeine in your diet, lowering stress, and increasing exercise are all an important parts of blood pressure control.

Medications

The exact combination of medications that are best for you can only be decided in discussions with your doctor. The medicines work in many ways. Of note, many studies have shown that you may need to take several medications to get your blood pressure to the goal of less than 130/80.


 

Page last updated: April 16, 2014