8 tips to manage high blood pressure and diabetes
Two out of three people with diabetes will also have high blood pressure. The reason for this significant relationship between the two is unknown but if you have diabetes you should especially aim to keep your blood pressure well controlled. Having high blood pressure is one of the several factors that can lead to a stroke, increase your chance of developing heart disease, and various other complications.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is when a person’s blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose comes from the food you eat and is your main source of energy. The glucose from your food gets into your cells to be used as energy with the help of insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas. Sometimes your body fails to make enough or any insulin because of which the glucose from the food stays in your blood and doesn’t reach the cells.
The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is when a person’s heart blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through their blood vessels, is consistently too high. High blood pressure, or hypertension, has no symptoms which is why it is often known as a “silent killer”. Doctors measure blood pressure on almost every visit; you, too, should regularly check it at home.
Most people with diabetes should have a blood pressure of no more than 130/80.
Your lifestyle has a direct impact on your health which is why there are many ways (mostly dietary) that you can manage your blood pressure & diabetes. Here are 8 ways tips you can do so:
1. Exercise regularly and lower your stress
Stress raises your blood pressure and so it’s important to learn how to lower this stress. Regular physical activity is one of the ways to do so. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day will not only lower your blood pressure, but will also help prevent hypertension. Some physical activities that can help: walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and dancing. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program. Try deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, gardening or listening to your favorite music. If you’re feeling low, reach out to a family member, friend, health counselor or a support group. Talking to someone about your concerns will also help you feel better.
2. Reduce your salt intake
Salt does not affect the blood glucose levels but it is still important to limit and keep a check on your salt consumption. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure. Try alternatives for salt to flavor your food with, for example, garlic, rosemary, ginger, oregano, or cumin. Avoid eating out and prepare all your meals at home. If you’re eating a bag of chips or at a restaurant, chances are your salt intake will be high.
3. Create a healthy-eating plan
Get into the habit of eating a well-balanced diet and sticking to regular mealtimes. When prepping your meal, ensure it is rich in nutrients and low in fat. Include fruits, vegetables, proteins like baked fish or chicken and grains like brown rice in your meals. Count your carbohydrates to make sure your salt intake is not too high.
4. Lower your caffeine intake
Caffeine affects every person differently. Studies show that drinking coffee can raise your blood pressure and blood sugar. If you have been trying to control your blood sugar levels or if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should limit the amount of caffeine in your diet to 200 milligrams i.e. about 2 cups of coffee a day. People with diabetes and high blood pressure can also switch to decaf.
5. Include potassium in your diet
Since potassium naturally reduces the effects of sodium it is a great addition to your meals if you have high blood pressure. Bananas are a quick and good source of potassium. Some other vegetables you can add to your diet are broccoli, raw carrots and potatoes along with wholewheat bread, bran flakes and nuts. If you also have problems related to your kidney, do not go overboard with the consumption of potassium as it can make the problem worse.
6. Limit your alcohol consumption
Try to avoid drinking alcohol when getting together with your friends and family. Wine, beer and most cocktail mixers contain sugar in them. This will raise your blood glucose levels. According to some studies, men should stick to two drinks per day and women to one. Alcohol also works on your appetite and can cause you to overeat so be careful.
7. Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is extremely important in managing high blood pressure and diabetes. If you’re gaining weight, your blood pressure problems will also increase. Disrupted breathing is one of the problems that come with being overweight, which further raises your blood pressure. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on your waistline as carrying too much weight around the gut puts people at a greater risk of high blood pressure. Consult a dietician or your doctor to understand what is a healthy weight limit for your body.
8. Track your progress
The best thing you can do to keep your blood pressure and diabetes in check is being accountable. Track your eating and sleeping habits or regularly check in with a friend, a family member or your doctor.Alternatively, you could also get a professional helping hand with a health management app like Relex. With a range of services that includes regular checking of vitals, medicine management and guidance and monitoring, Relex takes over the management of any chronic health conditions. Learn more by visiting: https://relexhealth.com/.