If you have diabetes, blood pressure control is crucial

With exercise, a low-salt diet and the help of medication if you need it, you can reduce your likelihood of a heart attack or stroke by keeping systolic blood pressure between 130 and 140 mm Hg. But two recent studies raise questions about people with diabetes going below 130.

Is aggressive blood pressure treatment safe?

In studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, people with diabetes who lowered their systolic pressure to less than 130 mm HG had no greater reduction in the number of heart attacks or strokes than those who stayed between 130 and 140 mm Hg.

In one study, the intensive-therapy group had three times more adverse reactions, including fainting and abnormal heart rhythms.

New Guidelines

Ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Current guidelines recommend that people with diabetes should take action to lower their blood pressure if their systolic pressure is greater than 140 mm Hg. Talk to your health care team if you have concerns about your blood pressure.

Written by: Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. From our sister publication, Diabetes Focus (Summer 2011); Updated by Remedy Health Media

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at HealthCommunities.com

Published: 09 May 2011

Last Modified: 03 Jan 2013