Improving and preventing high blood pressure

If you have diabetes, you need to make sure your blood pressure is well controlled and a healthy lifestyle will help you achieve this. Find out what you need to do and why it’s vital.

Diabetes and high blood pressure

About a quarter of people with type 1 diabetes and 80% of people with type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure.

Having diabetes raises your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and other health problems. And having high blood pressure also raises this risk.

If you have diabetes and high blood pressure together, this raises your risk of health problems even more. For instance, it puts you more at risk of developing diabetes complications with feet, eyes and your kidneys.

If you need help with bringing your blood pressure down, you should:

  • Stick to a healthy diet with less salt plus more fruit and veg. Salt raises your blood pressure, so the more you have the higher your blood pressure.
  • Limit your alcohol intake because alcohol causes your blood pressure to go up, so stay within the recommended 14 units a week.
  • Lose weight because being overweight makes your heart work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure.
  • Get active and take regular exercise, to keep your heart and blood vessels in good condition, which lowers blood pressure.
  • Cut down on caffeine as more than four cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure. 
  • Stop smoking, which may not cause high blood pressure but puts you at a higher risk of a heart attack and stroke.
  • Get a good night's sleep because long-term lack of sleep is linked to a rise in blood pressure, so getting at least six hours of sleep a night is advised.

Medication for high blood pressure

Many people with diabetes take medication to treat blood pressure, but your healthcare team will advise you on this after you have been tested.

So why not be healthier now and keep your blood pressure in check.