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Blood Pressure and Diabetes

Blood Pressure and Diabetes

What You Need to Know

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The heart is an amazing, life-giving organ

The heart works well under pressure, but blood pressure that gets too high (hypertension) makes your heart work harder. People develop hypertension as a result of many conditions, including injury to the kidneys from diabetes. If it is not treated, hypertension can cause damage to your heart and blood vessels, raising your chances of heart attack, stroke, worsening kidney problems, amputation, and blindness. There may not be any warning signs or symptoms.




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A woman checking her blood pressureAn estimated 4 out of 5 American Indian and Alaska Native people with diabetes also have hypertension.

It is important to have your blood pressure checked often. Anyone, including youth, can develop high blood pressure, but it is more likely to occur as you get older.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Blood pressure is needed to circulate blood through the body.

Blood pressure readings have two numbers, such as 120/80. The top number (120) is the pressure in the heart and blood vessels when the heart beats. This is called systolic pressure. The bottom number (80) is the pressure in the heart and blood vessels when the heart is at rest. This is called diastolic pressure.

Blood Pressure Monitor
Blood Pressure Systolic (mmHg)   Diastolic (mm Hg)
Normal Less than 120 and Less than 80
Elevated 120-129 and Less than 80
High Blood Pressure
130 or Higher or 80 or Higher

Keeping Blood Pressure in Control

Your health care team can help you manage your blood pressure and lower your risk for complications. What changes could you make to control your blood pressure?

Take prescribed blood pressure medication

Take prescribed blood pressure medication.

Decrease or quit commercial tobacco

Decrease or quit commercial tobacco.

Move more

Move more. Even a 15-minute walk most days helps.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Aim for a healthy weight

Aim for a healthy weight.

Get enough sleep

Get enough sleep.

Limit alcohol

Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink a day for women, 2 for men.