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People with diabetes 'need to be aware' of link to high blood pressure


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.



Readers' comments (2)

  • I know a number of people who have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I still believe they are treated as 2nd class citizens; it can be a number of weeks after diagnosis before anything remotely is done about their condition and theyare left reeling from finding out they have the condition for many weeks after. If more blood pressures were carried out routinely, it could only improve their chances.

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  • There exists a simple BP test that provides not just systolic and diastolic pressures from the brachial artery but several other very important parameters such as central aortic systolic and central diastolic BP, arterial stiffness index, Augmentation index, PWA / PWV measurments and ABIP which together provide a much more comprehensive assessment of the complete vascular picture for patients diagnosed with diabetes whether it is type I or type II. Such measures are endorsed by the ESH and should be routinely used in any and all patients where "regular BP" checks are performed. The measurement of such parameters give a much better indication of vascular disease as well as risk stratification for future CVD. All persons over the age of 40 should have a routine health MOT which can identify patients who may be hypertensive and or suffering with undiagnosed diabetes. Initial funding for such diagnostic equipment could easily be funded centrally but would be recovered within a couple of years through better and earlier detection of these life-threatening diseases and lower treament costs at a later stage. Such simple tests can be carried out in Primary Care and would provide better quality of care for all at very little added cost and in the time it takes to perform a regular BP measurment from the upper arm.

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