Many diabetic patients 'struggling to control their blood pressure'

17 April 2012

Many people in the UK who suffer from diabetes are failing to keep their blood pressure within a reasonable level, new research has warned.

Diabetes UK has studied data supplied by the NHS and found that for the past few years, around 50 per cent of those diagnosed with diabetes have been unable to control their blood pressure.

This should set alarm bells ringing in the medical industry, seeing as though people with diabetes who have high blood pressure heighten their chances of suffering from stroke, heart disease or kidney failure.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, went as far as to describe the results of her organisation's study as "extremely worrying".

She acknowledged: "People with diabetes need to be aware that high blood pressure can have a hugely damaging effect on their health."

As such, diabetes sufferers are usually encouraged to try and keep their blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg at all times.

This rate is slightly lower than the target set for the rest of the British population – the normal blood pressure rate should never top 140/85 mmHg while the lower limit is recommended to never drop below 120/80.

When it comes to treating diabetic patients, a spokesman for the Department of Health believes it is important for health professionals to keep a person's blood pressure at a safe and healthy level.

He explained that this can be done by ensuring patients go through all of the health checks recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

On top of this, the spokesman noted: "Diabetic patients who have high blood pressure should also get advice and treatment to help them manage the condition that fits with their lifestyle."

Ms Young was also keen to point out that action needs to be taken swiftly, as she believes the UK is "in danger of high blood pressure becoming the norm in people with the condition".

However, the expert underlined that this should be prevented as much as possible, stating that such an attitude is leading to "record rates of stroke and kidney failure" and many diabetic patients losing their lives at a much younger age than people without the condition.

The prevalence of diabetes was recently highlighted in a study by Diabetes UK. As of October 2011, the organisation found that there were 2.9 million people across the UK known to suffer from the condition.

Many of those who are diagnosed will either be found to be suffering from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

People are prone to contract the former condition due to the insulin-producing cells inside a body being destroyed and therefore a human being unable to develop any insulin.

The proven cause of Type 1 diabetes has never been accurately proven, though various research pieces suggest that an infection involving a particular virus or bacteria could be one explanation.

Other theories include people being exposed to food-borne chemical toxins or, when they were an infant, drinking cow's milk which contained an unidentified component that subsequently triggered an autoimmune reaction.

Diabetes does not necessarily stop the production of insulin though, with Type 2 of the condition allowing the body to make the chemical.

However, the problem stems from the fact that the body is either unable to make enough insulin to prove effective or the chemical is then unable to function properly.

Growing older, being obese and/or being physical inactive can all increase the risk of someone suffering from Type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, research has shown that children who have parents with the condition have a one in three chance of contracting this form of diabetes themselves. Therefore, it could be wise to get a youngster checked over on a regular basis to spot signs of development.

Posted by Edward Bartel

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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