High Blood Pressure: Can Diabetes Cause Hypertension?

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Complications of Diabetes: Can Diabetes Cause Hypertension?

Having diabetes places one at risk for developing high blood pressure since diabetes is often linked to atherosclerosis, an artery hardening condition. Atherosclerosis can cause hypertension. Affecting 60 percent of diabetics, hypertension is known to exacerbate the complications of diabetes, including cardiovascular and kidney disease, heart attack, blood vessel damage, stroke and diabetic eye disease (retinopathy).[1]

What is High Blood Pressure?

Arteries are responsible for transporting blood away from the heart, which then circulates throughout the body at a reasonable amount of pressure. Too much force, however, can be the result of high blood pressure. Hypertension is responsible for damaging blood vessels, as well as increasing the risk for the aforementioned health complications.

Blood Pressure Symptoms: Signs of High Blood Pressure

Referred to as a “silent problem”, high blood pressure is often undiagnosed; therefore, it is recommended that individuals have their blood pressure checked several times per year.

Blood Pressure Readings: Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure

Systolic and diastolic are two measurements taken into account when a blood pressure reading is acquired. Patients will typically hear results as a number “over” another. For example, a blood pressure reading of 130/85 would be verbally expressed as “130 over 85.” The larger number represents systolic blood pressure, the force of blood as it is exerted from the heart. The smaller number, or diastolic blood pressure, signifies the amount of pressure placed upon the vessels between heartbeats.

The following highlights four categories related to blood pressure:

1. Normal blood pressure:

Systolic pressure: Below 120


Diastolic pressure: Below 80

2. Prehypertension:

Systolic pressure: 120-139


Diastolic pressure: 80-89

3. Stage 1 hypertension:

Systolic pressure: 140-159


Diastolic pressure: 90-99

4. Stage 2 hypertension:

Systolic pressure: 160+


Diastolic pressure: 100+

Diabetes: Blood Pressure Readings

Diabetics with hypertension should aim for a blood pressure reading of, no more than, 130/80. Maintaining such a target reading will reduce the risk of developing diabetes complications. According to Erika Gebel in her article “Tension Mounts: High Blood Pressure”, published by Diabetes Forecast in July 2009, “the American Diabetes Association (ADA) defines hypertension for people with diabetes as either a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mm Hg or more, on two consecutive doctor visits.”[2]

Disclaimer: The preceding informative article serves as an educational tool. It should not replace the advice or diagnosis of a licensed physician.


_Web_MD. “Diabetes and High Blood Pressure”, https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/high-blood-pressure.[1]

Diabetes Forecast. “Tension Mounts: High Blood Pressure”, https://forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/diabetes-101/tension-mounts-high-blood-pressure .[2]

“High Blood Pressure: Things You Can Do To Help Lower Yours” American Academy of Family Physicians, 1993-2000.

American Diabetes Association. “High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)”, https://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/high-blood-pressure-hypertension.html.

Patient Resources

Mayo Clinic. “Blood Pressure Chart: What Your Reading Means”, https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/blood-pressure/HI00043.

American Diabetes Association, https://www.diabetes.org/.

Joslin Diabetes Center, https://www.joslin.org/.