When The Pressure Builds

Yesterday, I wrote a post about some of the medications that I’ve been prescribed. These medications started out as preventative, but as the years passed, it became apparent that they were no longer “preventative” and were playing an active support role in my overall health. One of those medications plays a role in helping to control high blood pressure. When people hears “Diabetes,” they don’t automatically think of high blood pressure. But as it turns out, it can be one of those inevitable side effects that eventually catch up to anyone with Diabetes, controlled or not.

it’s no secret that Diabetes damages the body’s blood vessels and causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). That hardening will eventually cause an increase in blood pressure, which is where the problems start. High blood pressure can lead to heart attack and renal failure as well as problems with circulation. An increase in blood pressure can also lead to various eye complications related to Diabetes.

According to a post by WebMD, “most people with Diabetes should have a blood pressure of no more than 130/80.” Although I can admit that my blood pressure is usually spot on or close to that (when it gets tested), I’m sure there are days when it ain’t so great. The article goes on to explain that good blood pressure control can be almost as important as proper blood sugar control.

One of the big problems is that unlike a lot of other complications, a person can run for quite a long period of time without ever knowing they have high blood pressure. This is why it’s important to test your blood pressure regularly. You can purchase your own blood pressure cuff at your local pharmacy for a reasonably low price. They usually run from anywhere in the low $20 all the way up to well over $100, depending on how fancy you want to get. Personally, my blood pressure cuff is about as old fashioned as you can get, without having the old style that also requires a stethoscope. It’s a simple arm cuff connected to a pneumatic tube, which runs into a reader that takes “AA” batteries.

There are a number of things, some obvious and some not, that you can do to help improve your blood pressure. Regular exercise and proper blood sugar monitoring and control are the common ones, of course. But a healthier diet, quit smoking, drinking alcohol and limiting your intake of salt are also important to maintaining good blood pressure. Your endocrinologist will usually smack your fingers if you allow your blood pressure to run rampant.

If you happen to fall under the category of folks who can’t afford or don’t want to pay for a personal blood pressure cuff, you can visit your local pharmacy or big box retail store. They usually have a publicly-available blood pressure machine that you can use. Moderation on some of the more common bad habits as well as healthy diet and exercise are key. Don’t let high blood pressure be your undoing. ☯

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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