What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of your blood against the blood vessel walls. The recommended target for 
people with diabetes is less than 130/80 mm Hg. The top number is the pressure when your heart contracts and pushes blood out (systolic). The bottom number is the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats (diastolic). For non-diabetic adults, normal blood pressure is considered to be less than 140/90 mm Hg. There are often no symptoms of high blood pressure. this means that you may have high blood pressure and not know it.

Why is controlling blood pressure important for people with diabetes?

When blood pressure is high, it puts stress on the body. This can cause damage to the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes. High blood glucose levels are a risk factor for hypertension (high blood pressure) as it can lead to hardening of the arteries. Compared to people without diabetes, people with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop heart disease and/or experience a stroke at an earlier age. People with diabetes should have their blood pressure checked every time they visit their healthcare team.

Am I doing all that I can to control my blood pressure?

Do I have my blood pressure checked every time I visit my health care team?
Am I at a healthy weight?
Do I follow a healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy products, and is low in sodium and saturated and trans fats?
Am I physically active on a regular basis?
Am I a non-smoker?
Do I manage stress in a healthy way?
Do I limit my alcohol intake?
Do I take medications as prescribed?

February is Heart and Stroke month, for more information, visit
www.heartandstroke.ca/bp or www.diabetes.ca