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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Diabetic's blood pressure warning

By Jane Jameson

Recent figures taken from the recent National Diabetes Audit has revealed that - out of the 90% of diabetics in the UK who are monitored by the group - only half are managing to monitor their blood pressure level. This startling finding released by Diabetes UK shows how just under a million English diabetics are putting their life at risk by potentially having too high blood pressure.

The charity Diabetes UK are urging diabetics to monitor their blood pressure levels much more closely. The ideal blood pressure level for non-diabetics should be no higher 140/85 although ideally under 120/80. For diabetics, the safe blood pressure limit is reduced to 130/80 but again ideally this should be under 120/80. However, these findings show that only 50.7% of diabetics in England are aware of their blood pressure level.

So what so-called 'hugely damaging' effects could high blood pressure levels present for diabetics? A statement from Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, describes the problem, stating: "Given the link between blood pressure and diabetes-related complications such as stroke, kidney failure and heart disease, [this] is extremely worrying."

Once a diabetic has been diagnosed with the condition, they are encouraged to have their blood pressure levels measured by their GP at last once a year to ensure that these increased risks (and other related to diabetes) are monitored correctly. However, not only are doctors concerned that patients are not keeping a close eye on their blood pressure levels themselves, but that even once diagnosed with high blood pressure, they are not making reducing this level a top priority as it should be.

High blood pressure, or hypertension as it is medically referred to, is not actually caused by diabetes, but instead various factors such as smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, little or no exercise and a poor diet which all too contribute to diabetes. Therefore it is important for diabetics to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to monitor their blood pressure levels to ensure they avoid life threatening health complications such as heart attacks.

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