The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is easing its blood pressure guidelines for people who have diabetes. In the past, they recommended that the blood pressure goal be less than 130/80 mm Hg, but citing new evidence, they now say it's okay to aim for less than 140/80 mm Hg.

Recent studies haven't shown that the lower readings offer benefit over the higher numbers. The new target may also allow some people to stop taking blood pressure medications to avoid side effects - as long as their systolic pressure remains below 140 mm Hg.

The ADA also clarifies how frequently insulin users with type 1 diabetes should test their blood glucose levels. Previous guidelines stated levels should be tested three or more times a day, which some people misinterpreted as meaning that three times was sufficient. Recognizing that some people test levels more than 10 times a day, the new guidelines no longer specify an exact number and suggest patients test levels under certain conditions such as after meals, at bedtime, before exercise and whenever they suspect their levels have dropped.

Source: Diabetes Care, vol. 36 (S1); Source: Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 20 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015