So you are living with type 2 diabetes. You are doing everything your healthcare provider has recommended. You are maintaining a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise. You are checking your blood sugars and they are within target range. Your A1C is less than 7%.

You are scheduled to see your healthcare provider for your routine visit. You’re feeling good.

“Everything looks good, it’s just that your blood pressure has been rising over the last few months”, you’re healthcare provider reports, “We are going to have to start you on blood pressure medications”

You’re bewildered. How can this be? Everything seemed to be going well. How come you’ve just been diagnosed with hypertension?

Is there a link between Type 2 Diabetes and hypertension?

YES there is a link and it is called metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of characteristics. It is not a medical illness per se. These characteristics put you at an increased risk for developing certain diseases.

These diseases include diabetes type 2, hypertension and heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is also called syndrome X and also insulin resistance syndrome.

Most clinical experts define metabolic syndrome as having three or more of any of the following:

  • If your waist measurement is more than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men.
  • A fasting blood sugar level more than 100-125 mg/dl
  • High blood pressure of more than 130/85 mm hg. Or if you have already been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • High triglyceride level of more than 150 mg/dl
  • A low HDL level of less than 40 mg/dl.

How common is metabolic syndrome?

More than 2/3rd of the adult American population is either overweight or obese.  The number of people with metabolic syndrome has risen just as the obesity epidemic in this country. Currently that rate is at 34% of the adult population.

The following factors put you at risk for developing metabolic syndrome:

  • Being overweight. In other words a BMI of more than 25. Click here for the BMI calculator
  • Smoking
  • Eating a diet that is high in carbohydrates
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Menopause
  • Family history of diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
  • Increasing age.

What health risks are associated with metabolic syndrome

  • People with metabolic syndrome are more likely to develop diabetes type 2
  • They are also at risk for developing heart disease.

How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?

Schedule an annual physical exam with your healthcare provider. Check your weight and calculate your BMI using the BMI calculator.

Remember to get your waist measurement taken.

Have your healthcare provider do blood tests to check your fasting lipid profile and blood sugar.

For more information about knowing your numbers click here

It is always a good idea to schedule an appointment for your annual physical first thing in the morning. That way, you can go in fasting- without having eaten anything.

Please do not to take your medications if you do not eat. This will reduce your risk for hypoglycemia. 

How to treat Metabolic Syndrome:

The primary goal is weight loss. Become more physically active and eat a healthy diet.

This will help to reduce your cholesterol and also keep your blood sugars in target range.

If you smoke, make a commitment to quit smoking.

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is more than 140/90 mmhg. It is diagnosed after your healthcare provider has obtained more than 3 readings of an elevated blood pressure.

When diet and exercise fail to bring the blood pressure down to normal range, then your healthcare provider may decide to start you on medications.

The common link between high blood pressure and diabetes is metabolic syndrome. It is because of this link that a lot of people with diabetes type 2 may end up being diagnosed with high blood pressure.

The goal is to control or reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome. That way you reduce your risk of complications of diabetes.

As always, I welcome your comments, feedback and any suggestions you have for upcoming topics.

To your health and wellbeing,