High blood pressure, or hypertension, is common in people with diabetes. In fact, some researchers estimate that high blood pressure affects up to 50% of people with diabetes.
Managing your blood pressure is important, as high blood pressure means you are at a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, retinopathy and other complications.
Blood pressure is not something you can usually feel, and often has no symptoms unless it is very high, so you may not realise that you are at risk. This is why it is important to get your blood pressure regularly checked by a healthcare professional.
What should my blood pressure be?
As a general guide, the current recommended blood pressure target range for all people with or without diabetes is less than or equal to 140/90. Your doctor will discuss and set a target range that is appropriate for you, as you may require a lower range depending on your individual circumstances.
When should I have my blood pressure checked?
You should have your blood pressure checked at every doctor’s visit. This should be at least:
- every six months for people with normal blood pressure
- every three months for people with high blood pressure
- every 4 to 8 weeks if your blood pressure medication is being changed.
What can I do at home to lower my blood pressure?
There are several positive steps you can take:
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, you should try to quit.
- Aim to keep your blood glucose levels within your target range.
- If you are overweight, take steps to lose weight.
- Eat for good health. Choose a wide variety of foods from all the food groups.
- Do regular physical activity – aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
- Cut down on the amount of salt you eat by limiting the amount of processed and takeaway foods you eat. Don’t put any salt in your home cooking.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink, the less you drink, the better it is for your health. Aim for no more than 10 standard drinks within a week and 4 standard drinks on any one day.