High Blood Pressure and Diabetes: Do They go Hand in Hand?

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

blood sugar and blood pressure relationship
Living with diabetes, hypertension or any other lifestyle disease is difficult and most often a lonely journey. With Phable, India’s no. 1 BP and Sugar Management Mobile App, you can use technology to take charge of your health. Also Phable’s one-stop-shop is here to help you manage your condition better.

We live in a time where more and more people are coming into the clutches of lifestyle diseases. It may feel overwhelming to try and understand them all, as well as how each is connected to the other. The ‘blood sugar and blood pressure relationship’ is particularly intriguing. Come, let’s find out all about it. 

Contents:
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is the Difference Between Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is the Connection between Hypertension and Diabetes?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Can Diabetes Cause Hypertension?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Can Hypertension Cause Diabetes?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Diabetes And Hypertension Complications
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    How to Prevent Diabetes and High Blood Pressure?
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
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What is the Difference Between Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure?

Blood Sugar

Blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose or sugar in your blood at a given time. Blood sugar levels can be within, lower, or higher than the target range. The normal blood glucose level for a healthy individual who is fasting is less than 100 mg/dL. 

A blood glucose level lower than 70 mg/dL is known as hypoglycemia and a blood glucose level above 125 mg/dL upon fasting, is known as hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is usually associated with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is defined as the force exerted by the flowing blood on the walls of your arteries (the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to other parts of the body). An ideal blood pressure level is less than or equal to 120/80 mm Hg. 

Low blood pressure or hypotension is when the blood pressure is lower than 90/60 mm Hg. High blood pressure or hypertension is when the blood pressure is consistently higher than 140/90 mm Hg. 

Thus, blood sugar and blood pressure are different parameters, though they may be connected. Let’s see how high blood pressure and diabetes are related.

What is the Connection between Hypertension and Diabetes?

In many cases, diabetes and hypertension can occur together. They are both lifestyle diseases and share a number of common risk factors and causes, including:

  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • An unhealthy diet that is high in calories
  • Obesity
  • Chronic stress
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Smoking 
  • Insulin resistance (A condition in which your cells stop responding to insulin)
  • Inflammation (An excessive response of your immune system to a perceived threat)
  • Oxidative stress (An imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body)

If you have one condition, you may be at an increased risk for developing the other. Further, if you have hypertension and diabetes, one condition may worsen the effect of the other on your body.

Can Diabetes Cause Hypertension?

In diabetes, a person either does not produce enough insulin (the hormone that helps the body use or store the glucose it gets from food) or their body does not respond properly to the insulin. 

In a diabetic person, glucose cannot enter the body’s cells to provide energy and it accumulates in the blood. High blood glucose levels can cause widespread damage to various tissues and organs, including those that play a key role in maintaining healthy blood pressure. 

For example, diabetes damages arteries and makes them susceptible to atherosclerosis (the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on your artery walls). This can cause high blood pressure and lead to further complications including blood vessel damage, heart attack, and kidney failure. Thus, diabetes can contribute to hypertension. 

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Can Hypertension Cause Diabetes?

Studies suggest that people with high blood pressure usually have insulin resistance and an increased risk of developing diabetes when compared to those with normal blood pressure. This may be due to the bodily processes that link both these conditions, including inflammation, oxidative stress, thickening of the blood vessels, and obesity.

Thus, hypertension may not cause diabetes directly, but it can increase the risk of an individual developing diabetes.

Diabetes And Hypertension Complications

If left untreated, the combined effect of diabetes and high blood pressure may lead to serious complications, such as:

  • Eye problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke (damage to the brain due to interruption in blood supply)

Managing blood sugar levels and blood pressure can help prevent complications.

How to Prevent Diabetes and High Blood Pressure?

Bringing these healthy changes to your lifestyle can help reduce the chances of developing diabetes and hypertension. 

 

  • Maintain a healthy weight by following a balanced diet and being physically active. 
  • Make time for regular physical activity and get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, which includes brisk walking and swimming.
  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, healthy fats, and limited added salt and sugar.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption as excessive alcohol intake can increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Stick to a maximum of one alcoholic drink per day for females and two alcoholic drinks per day for males.
  • Avoid or quit smoking. Tobacco causes your blood vessels to constrict and also increases the buildup of plaque within the arteries, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure over time. It can also increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. 
  • Limit the amount of added salt in your diet.
  • Monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure levels regularly. 
  • Do not miss your regular health check-ups with your doctor. 

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose or sugar in your blood at a given time. Blood pressure is defined as the force exerted by the flowing blood on the walls of your arteries. Blood sugar and blood pressure are different yet connected parameters. 
  • Diabetes and hypertension can occur together. They share a number of common risk factors and causes. If you have one condition, you may be at an increased risk of developing the other. Further, one condition may worsen the effect of the other on your body.
  • Having diabetes can contribute to the development of hypertension. Further, hypertension may not cause diabetes directly, but it can increase the risk of an individual developing diabetes.
  • If left untreated, the combined effect of diabetes and high blood pressure may lead to serious complications, such as eye problems, kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke.
  • To prevent hypertension and diabetes, maintain a healthy weight, follow a balanced diet, indulge in regular physical activity, limit your alcohol consumption, and avoid smoking. 
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists and cardiologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring, BP monitors, and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management Program and Hypertension Management Program which provides ‎360º care. Let’s treat diabetes and blood pressure problems together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. In hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), your body tries to maintain the optimum functioning of essential organs by increasing your heart rate and peripheral systolic blood pressure, by pushing blood and nutrients toward the heart and lungs. This may cause high blood pressure. 

High sugar levels or hyperglycemia as seen in diabetes, may contribute to an increase in blood pressure. Diabetes damages arteries and makes them susceptible to atherosclerosis (the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on your artery walls). This can cause high blood pressure.

 As per studies, in people with diabetes, blood pressure should be below 140/90 mm Hg.

Type 2 Diabetes is characterised by the presence of insulin resistance in your cells, which leads to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels trigger the release of more insulin from your pancreatic beta cells. Excess insulin in your body prevents weight loss by inhibiting the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates. It also leads to the storage of excess glucose in your liver, adipose (fat) tissue, and muscles in the form of glycogen and fat. Both of these factors lead to weight gain in Type 2 Diabetes.

If you want to lower your elevated blood pressure instantly, drink some water, lie down, and take deep breaths. This action may slow down your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure within a few minutes. Seek immediate medical help as well. 

Yes, any blood pressure reading lesser than 90/60 mm Hg is considered low blood pressure or hypotension, and requires medical attention.

Low blood sugar levels or hypoglycemia in people with diabetes may cause symptoms like tremors, dizziness, fast heartbeat, sweating, hunger, confusion, irritability, and inability to concentrate. 

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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