Diabetes can increase high blood pressure, heart disease risk: 10 tips to manage your blood sugar levels

Most people with diabetes will eventually have high blood pressure, heart, kidney and circulation problems, says an expert. Read on to know how to manage diabetes to alleviate the risk.
Healthy habits for people with diabetes
Help your family members follow healthy habits if they have diabetes. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 11:10 am IST
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Do you remember the time when your doctor told you about you having diabetes? The first thing must have been making changes in your diet. The ones with a sweet tooth might have had a hard time as anything related to sugar is usually cut out from your diet, especially if you have type 2 diabetes. Being a diabetic, especially if you are an elderly person, doesn’t only mean curbing sugar cravings. An expert said that most people with diabetes will eventually have other health issues like high blood pressure, heart, kidney and circulation problems. Worry not as you can manage diabetes with other health conditions.

It’s been often noticed that if a person has diabetes, he or she also has high blood pressure. Health Shots checked with Dr Tarun Sahni, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi on this.

diabetes drugs
Most people with diabetes will eventually have more health problems. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Most people with diabetes will eventually have other health problems

If you have diabetes and also high blood pressure or other health condition, don’t be shocked. Dr Sahni noted that high blood sugar or diabetes can lead to many complications, including diabetic eye disease and kidney disease, or even make them worse. He shared that most people with diabetes will eventually have “high blood pressure, along with other heart, kidney and circulation problems.”

Further explaining, he said that diabetes damages arteries and makes them targets for hardening, known as atherosclerosis. That in turn can cause high blood pressure. If it’s not treated, can lead to trouble including blood vessel damage, kidney failure or even heart attack.

Senior people with diabetes can manage their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise though they might need diabetes pills or insulin injections along with medicines to manage other conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Diabetes and kidney stones

Some people even see a connection between diabetes and kidney or gall bladder stones. According to the expert, insulin is an important hormone that keeps the blood sugar levels in a healthy range, and high blood sugar can cause issues all over the body, including your kidneys.

He shared that studies have shown that having diabetes more than doubles the chances of having kidney stones, and research also suggested that using insulin to treat diabetes makes those chances even higher. He shared that kidney stones are even more likely for people who have severe diabetes, where blood sugar levels are highest.

post cardiac surgery
There are heart problems that diabetics can face. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Diabetes also increases the risk of many heart problems

Coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis) apart from heart attack are some of the heart problems that diabetics can face.

Tips to manage diabetes with other health conditions

1. Make healthy food choices

Diet is the first thing that you should focus on as a diabetic as the food that people eat affects glucose levels, so it’s important to learn what’s best for you, how much you can eat, and when. Foods rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fish and lean poultry are some of the good options. If you eat a lot of red meat, poultry, and seafood, they can raise the levels of uric acid.

2. Be active

Sedentary lifestyle does lead to many health problems, but if you have diabetes then you should give importance to exercise for sure. Sahni said that walking and other forms of daily exercise can help improve glucose levels, especially in older people with diabetes.

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3. Take your medicines

A lot of people think that if they aren’t in pain or feel okay, skipping medicine is fine, but it’s not! You should take your medicines as prescribed even if you feel good.

4. Manage your blood pressure

To manage your blood pressure, you need to know how much it is, so get the blood pressure checked often.

5. Manage your cholesterol

At least once a year, people above 60 should get a blood test to check the cholesterol and triglyceride levels, suggested the expert. This is important as high levels may even increase the risk for heart problems.

6. Stop smoking

Yes, it is a habit that you should stay away from. It’s bad as smoking raises your risk for many health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

Also Read: 4 reasons why you need to quit smoking

7. Get flu shots every year

A yearly flu shot will help keep elderly people healthy, and if you’re over 65, make sure you have had the pneumonia vaccine.

8. Care for your teeth and gums

Brush your teeth, floss daily and have your teeth and gums checked twice a year by a dentist to avoid serious problems.

9. Protect your skin

Keep the skin clean and use skin softeners for dryness. Also, take care of minor cuts and bruises to prevent getting infections.

10. Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated is one of the best things to stop stones from forming, so try to drink six to eight glasses of water a day.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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