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Half of people with diabetes have high blood pressure

Diabetes UK has issued a warning about the hugely damaging effect of high blood pressure, as a new analysis reveals that half of people with the condition are not meeting their blood pressure target.

Just 50.7 per cent of people with diabetes met this target during 2009/10, according to the analysis, which has barely improved since the previous year when 50 per cent of people met the target. This is despite the fact that high blood pressure increases the risk of diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.

Identification and control

We have used National Diabetes Audit information about England, but if the percentage was mirrored across the UK then it would mean that more than 1.4 million of the 2.9 million people with diabetes have high blood pressure. In contrast, just 30 per cent of the general population is estimated to have high blood pressure.

A recent survey by Diabetes UK showed that most people with diabetes (91 per cent) are getting the annual blood pressure check that is part of our 15 healthcare essentials that every person with diabetes should receive.

However, once people with high blood pressure have been identified, not enough is being done to help them bring it under control. This could include medication, as well as support in improving diet, losing weight if needed and stopping smoking.

"Extremely worrying"

Barbara Young, Chief Executive for Diabetes UK, said, "Given the link between blood pressure and diabetes-related complications such as stroke, kidney failure and heart disease, it is extremely worrying that half of people with diabetes have high blood pressure.

"People with diabetes need to be aware that high blood pressure can have a hugely damaging effect on their health. But instead, we are in danger of high blood pressure becoming the norm in people with the condition, and this is one of the reasons they are experiencing record rates of stroke and kidney failure and are dying years younger than the rest of the population.

A top priority

"We need to get the message across that if you have diabetes then not only should you be aware of your blood pressure, but if it is high then reducing it should be one of your top priorities.

"It is also important that healthcare professionals realise that measuring the blood pressure of people with diabetes is the start of the process rather than the end of it. Once people with high blood pressure are identified, healthcare professionals then need to work with that person to bring it down to an acceptable level."

Blood pressure targets

For someone without diabetes, their blood pressure should be no higher than 140/85 but when you have diabetes (or if you have had a heart attack, stroke or coronary heart disease) your blood pressure should be no higher than 130/80.

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