Half of those with diabetes in the UK also have high blood pressure, which can have “hugely damaging” consequences, a charity has warned.
Diabetes UK said the most recent figures, taken from a national audit of more than two million people with the condition, show that just 50.7% are meeting their blood pressure target.
The charity also expressed concern that not enough is being done once a diabetes sufferer has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, which increases the chance of complications including heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.
Chief executive Barbara Young said: “Given the link between blood pressure and diabetes-related complications such as stroke, kidney failure and heart disease, it is extremely worrying that half of people with diabetes have high blood pressure.
“People with diabetes need to be aware that high blood pressure can have a hugely damaging effect on their health. But, instead, we are in danger of high blood pressure becoming the norm in people with the condition and this is one of the reasons they are experiencing record rates of stroke and kidney failure and are dying years younger than the rest of the population.
“We need to get the message across that if you have diabetes then not only should you be aware of your blood pressure, but if it is high then reducing it should be one of your top priorities.
“But it is also important that healthcare professionals realise that measuring the blood pressure of people with diabetes is the start of the process rather than the end of it. Once people with high blood pressure are identified, healthcare professionals then need to work with that person to bring it down to an acceptable level.”
National Diabetes Audit information from more than two million people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, collected in 2009/10, was analysed by Diabetes UK. The figure has not greatly improved from the previous year, when 50% of people met the target.
In contrast, 30% of the general population is thought to have high blood pressure - although the target for diabetes sufferers is lower than for those without the condition.
A recent Diabetes UK survey showed that 91% of people with diabetes - of whom there are 2.9 million in the UK - receive an annual blood pressure check.
For someone without diabetes, blood pressure should be no higher than 140/85 but for those with diabetes, blood pressure should be no higher than 130/80.