Controlling high blood pressure in diabetics can prevent life-threatening organ failure according to a study published October 4, 2018 in the Clinical and Experimental Hypertension journal. The study that was carried out by researchers from Rutgers University found that high blood pressure rather than the diabetes was responsible for the organ failure.
Goal of the Study
The goal of the study was to pinpoint the risk factors for high blood pressure (hypertensive) emergencies. The researchers examined data about patients who were taken to the emergency department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey from June 2013 to May, 2016. The researchers compared diabetic patients to non-diabetic patients.
Diabetic Patients Made up 52% of all the High Blood Pressure Emergencies
During the duration of the study, diabetic patients made up 52% of all the high blood pressure emergencies. There were 264 diabetic patients who were taken to the emergency room with severe high blood pressure emergencies and 519 diabetic patients who had high blood pressure emergencies. African Americans were the majority of those diabetics (82%) who were taken to the emergency room and the heart was the most common organ damaged by the hypertensive emergency such as severe or worsening heart failure or heart attacks.
Risks for Hypertensive Emergencies
At some point in their lives 1-2% of people who have high blood pressure will experience a high blood pressure emergency and this risk is higher in those who are diabetics. For this reason people must keep their blood pressure under control.
The following factors raised the risk for a hypertensive emergency:
- High blood cholesterol levels
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Kidney insufficiency
Final Conclusions from the Study
The rates of organ damage were similar for both diabetic and non-diabetic patients, which proved that the high blood pressure was the cause of the organ damage and not the diabetes.
Methods for Preventing High Blood Pressure Emergencies
Screening should be carried out to find high risk patients, especially diabetics.
Monitoring high risk patients to make sure they are taking their blood pressure lowering drugs. If they are not taking their meds due to side effects then it might be necessary to change their prescription.
Diabetics should be encouraged to participate in more physical exercise like doing more walking.
Diabetics should be encouraged to make lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and to stop drinking alcoholic beverages.
Diabetics should be advised about eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and fish and to stay away from salty foods, especially processed meats which can raise blood pressure. See our blog post from April 5, 2019 about the benefits of a plant-based diet for diabetics.
People with high blood pressure should be encouraged to buy a monitor to test their blood pressure at home. If they see it going up, they can seek medical help before it develops into a high blood pressure emergency. High blood pressure does not usually produce any noticeable symptoms which is why it has been called the “silent killer.”
When it is Necessary to go to a Rehab
If you or your loved one are in need of a good rehab for problems related to diabetes, heart failure or post-stroke, the Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey offers expert post-stroke care, cardiac rehabilitation and diabetes monitoring and care.
It certainly pays to keep your blood pressure under control, as it is a killer and instigator for many medical emergencies that can lead to organ failure, especially in diabetics.