How does maintaining a healthy blood pressure level help people with diabetes stay healthy?


About 70% of adults with diabetes have high blood pressure or use prescription medications to reduce high blood pressure. Maintaining normal blood pressure—less than 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) helps to prevent damage to the eyes, kidneys, heart, and blood vessels. Blood pressure measurements are written like a fraction, with the two numbers separated by a slash. The first number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats (systolic pressure); the second number represents the pressure in the vessels when your heart is at rest (diastolic pressure).

In general, for every 10 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure (the first number in the fraction), the risk for any complication related to diabetes is reduced by 12%. Maintaining normal blood pressure control can reduce the risk of eye, kidney, and nerve disease (microvascular disease) by approximately 33%, and the risk of heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease) by approximately 33% to 50%. Healthy eating, medications, and physical activity can help you bring high blood pressure down.