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Checking blood pressure

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is common in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure affects a person with diabetes twice as often as a person without diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, the combination of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes is especially dangerous and can greatly increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

It is important that people with diabetes keep their blood pressure under control. The following are some facts on diabetes and blood pressure:

  • Nearly three in four people with diabetes have high blood pressure.
  • Two out of three people with diabetes die of heart disease or a stroke.
  • People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than those who do not have diabetes are.
  • Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 20 percent of deaths from heart attack and 13 percent of deaths from a stroke are related to diabetes or prediabetes.

Reduce The Risk For Heart Disease

To reduce their risk of heart disease, people should maintain a healthy weight, make healthy food choices, stay active, and quit smoking. Also, it is important to know and talk with a health care team about how to manage the ABCs of diabetes: A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol. This will help lower the chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems. For more information, read the Extension Brief, Managing the ABCs of Diabetes.

  • When self-monitoring, check blood sugar levels regularly. For those that don’t know how to properly check their levels, ask a healthcare provider for help.
  • Always remember to examine your feet and skin daily.
  • Weigh and check your blood pressure regularly. Write down both numbers to keep track. Use the chart below as a guide.

Blood Pressure Ranges

Used with permission by UIC - Midwest Latino Health Research, Training, and Policy Center
Blood Pressure CategoryRangesSystolic (mm/Hg) - Top NumberDiastolic (mm/Hg) - Bottom Number
Normal blood pressureAt or below 120/80 (mm/Hg)120 (mm/Hg)80 (mm/Hg)
Controlled blood pressure for persons with diabetesLess than 140/90 (mm/Hg)140 (mm/Hg)90 (mm/Hg)
Hypertension140/90 (mm/Hg) or more140 (mm/Hg)90 (mm/Hg)