Saint Paul, Minn. (Nov. 21, 2011) — The Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative (MN-DC) is urging the more than 375,000 Minnesotans with diabetes to take steps to keep their blood pressure under control.
As many as 2 out of 3 people with diabetes have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Keeping blood pressure under control can lower the risk of diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and blindness.
Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood sugar from having too little insulin or from insulin not working as it should. Insulin is a hormone that converts food into the energy your body needs.
High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer.” That means you may not have symptoms until damage is done to your body. High blood pressure may be caused by age, genetics, stress or unhealthy life choices. Whether you have diabetes or not, it is important to keep your blood pressure under control. Having high blood pressure in addition to diabetes is especially serious.
This year the MN-DC is marking the end of National Diabetes Month (November) by promoting the link between diabetes and high blood pressure.
“Diabetes and high blood pressure are not conditions that can be managed with a once-a-year reminder, they require daily attention,” says MN-DC diabetes educator, Marsha Hughes, RD, CDE, LD. “Taking charge of your blood pressure is one of the best ways to protect yourself if you have diabetes. It may even save your life!”
The good news is – you can put the squeeze on blood pressure with 4 simple steps:
• Set a blood pressure goal with your doctor.
• Check your blood pressure often, but at least 4 times a year.
• Keep track of your blood pressure numbers.
• Take your medicines as directed.
Take advantage of the many services offering free blood pressure checks, such as your clinic, pharmacies, fire stations, health fairs, and many others. Also remember that medicines make a difference . . . but only if you take them! There are lots of good ways to remember to take your medicines. And a lot of good reasons, too. In fact, your medicines may save your life. Try these tips:
• Take your medicines at the same time every day.
• Use a pillbox with sections for each day.
• Put a bright colored reminder note where you’ll see it.
• Ask a friend or family member to remind you.
• Put a favorite photo of someone on your fridge with a note that says, “Take your medicine!”
• Ask your pharmacy if they have a “refill reminder” program.
“Reaching your blood pressure goal is important, especially if you have diabetes. If your doctor said to take medicine for your high blood pressure, take it as directed — every day,” reminds Ms. Hughes.
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about ways to control your blood pressure.
Diabetes Facts and Figures
• Nearly 26 million children and adults have diabetes in the United States, with another 79 million Americans at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
• If present trends continue, as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050.
• 375,000 people have diabetes in Minnesota.
• Two out of three of people with diabetes do not consider heart disease and stroke to be serious complications of diabetes.
Toll on Health
• Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death, killing more people than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
• Three out of four people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. High blood pressure is a major contributor to these deadly complications.
• The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is more than $174 billion annually. Further published studies suggest that when additional costs for gestational diabetes, prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes are included, the total diabetes-related costs in the United States could exceed $218 billion each year.
• The cost of caring for someone with diabetes occupies $1 out of every $5 in total health care costs.
The MN-DC is a voluntary group involving some of the largest and most influential health systems and organizations in Minnesota. Our purpose is to provide consistent health messages and promote best practices to providers and consumers statewide. Learn more about the MN-DC and our educational resources at www.mn-dc.org.
“Put the Squeeze on Blood Pressure” was adapted from the Minnesota Diabetes and Blood Pressure Performance Improvement Plan campaign developed by participating health plans. See http://www.stratishealth.org/pip/blood-pressure.html for more information