Every year, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) publishes its recommendations for how people who have diabetes can control their blood pressure and the onset of hypertension, explaining how they can help manage and treat the disease. While it is meant to be a useful tool — and it has become increasingly aggressive in its recommendations — unfortunately it is not helping in the battle against diabetes.
Published in the January release of Diabetes Care, the ADA’s new Clinical Practice Recommendations publication is revised on an annual basis to include the newest findings from studies that look at the hypertension and diabetes link. Even with strides being made in recent studies, the condition has not substantially improved overall. This is concerning, as diabetes is on the rise in North America and hypertension is a leading contributor to the disease.
One of the main initiatives being touted by the guidelines is gaining better control over hypertension in diabetics. This is a crucial factor in maintaining one’s health if he/she suffers from both conditions, yet it is not being approached aggressively enough by either patients or their doctors.
In one study that looked at blood pressure, for example, researchers compared hypertension control in individuals with diabetes and individuals who did not suffer from the condition. They found that reducing blood pressure goals twice for those individuals with both hypertension and diabetes did not do much in helping with the condition.
Basically, when doctors fail to treat diabetes and hypertension aggressively enough in their patients, then those individuals will not get the adequate amount of help they need; they certainly won’t be able to reach optimal health levels on their own accord without the right guidance and care.
In another example of this, in both 1997 and 2003, the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC) decided to lower blood pressure goals for those individuals who suffer from diabetes, but this proved to be of no help, either. In fact, researchers noted that the JNC’s actions didn’t lead to improved hypertension levels in diabetics.
They further stated that “This finding is somewhat surprising considering the recognition of JNC guidelines as the gold standard for hypertension treatment, similar recommendations from other organizations such as American Diabetes Association, American College of Physicians, and American Academy of Family Physicians, and public health efforts to promote comprehensive diabetes care.”
So what is to be done about this situation? For starters, both medical care providers and diabetics have to work together and become more aggressive in the treatment of hypertension. By making simple lifestyle, medication, and dietary changes, a diabetic with this condition can greatly improve his/her standing. Also, medical organizations such as the ADA and the JNC need to work together with primary care professionals when it comes to implementing guidelines for diabetics.
If you have both diabetes and hypertension, know this: you are the first line of defense when it comes to your health. Get proactive and speak to your doctor about ways you can lower your hypertension. Your body will thank you for it!