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People with diabetes warned about blood pressure

Startling new figures concerning English diabetics has revealed that out of the 2 million diabetics monitored in England by the National Diabetes Audit (amounting to 90% of England’s total diabetics), fewer than 50% are not monitoring their blood pressure level. The results, revealed by Diabetes UK, show that nearly a million people with the condition are at increased risk of potential complications.

The charity Diabetes UK is urging all diabetics across the UK to more closely monitor their blood pressure. For both diabetics and non-diabetics, ideally levels should be kept below 120/80. The highest healthy level for non-diabetics in 140/85 but this safe limit is reduced for diabetics down to 130/80. These results, however, show that only 50.7% of diabetics in England have control of their blood pressure.

So what are these increased health risks caused by high blood pressure? Already, diabetics run the increased risk of heart disease, a stroke and kidney failure. Chief executive of Diabetes UK, Barbara Young, has said: “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.

Hypertension, the medical name for high blood pressure, is not caused by diabetes, but instead a number of other factors such as smoking, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, lack of exercise and drinking too much alcohol. But because diabetics already run an increased risk of complications such as heart attacks, it is important to both monitor blood pressure levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid these life-threatening complications.

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