A new study suggests that taking medication to reduce blood pressure can help prevent a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, writes JESSICA WEISS.
High blood pressure (or hypertension) occurs when the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it can start to cause health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and nerve damage. The current stats suggest it affects approximately 1 in 3 Australians. It is particularly common in people with diabetes, due to the changes in blood chemistry that diabetes can cause. People with diabetes are encouraged to have their blood pressure checked during every visit to your GP – at least every six months and more often if you have been diagnosed with hypertension.
We know that keeping blood pressure close to the recommended target range is a very important part of managing diabetes and reducing the risk of complications. There are five lifestyle changes you can take to help reduce blood pressure:
- Don’t smoke
- Lose excess weight
- Do regular physical activity (30 minutes each day on most days of the week)
- Limit salt intake
- Limit alcohol intake
For many people with high blood pressure, medication may be recommended alongside dietary and lifestyle changes. It also appears that having high blood pressure can increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). Can effectively lowering blood pressure have any impact on this risk?
A recent participant data meta-analysis of 22 studies has just examined whether blood pressure medication may actually help prevent developing T2D. The results from this study found that lowering blood pressure by 5 mm Hg reduced the risk of a person developing T2D by 11%. Some common drug classes of blood pressure lowering medications prescribed in Australia were found to have a greater impact on this risk than others. The exact reason for this variation in types of blood pressure lowering medications however was not investigated in this study.
This study highlighted the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring and taking blood pressure lowering medications prescribed, not only for the well-studied benefits to your heart and cardiovascular system but for the additional reason of preventing type 2 diabetes.
Speak to your health care provider if you have any questions about your blood pressure management.