Experts have found that high blood pressure and diabetes-the “dastardly duo”-seem to go hand-in-hand. The effects of high blood sugar take their toll on the cardiovascular system, which consists of the heart, blood vessels and lymph vessels (responsible for the immune system that fights off infections) that pump blood and lymph around the body.
When your blood has to move through your vessels with too much force, this makes the heart work harder and causes blood pressure to go up. Sometimes it will come back down to normal levels but when blood pressure stays high with little or no change in levels, this condition is known as hypertension. Hypertension can lead to other more serious health concerns such as a stroke, heart attack and heart failure.
Tips to help you reduce blood pressure
Work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Eat whole-grain breads and cereals.
Try herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
Choose foods with less than 400 mg of sodium per serving.
Lose weight or take steps to prevent weight gain.
Limit alcohol consumption and consult your doctor about whether it is safe to drink alcohol at all.
If you smoke, get help to quit.
Ask your doctor about medications to help reduce high blood pressure. Examples of these types of medications are ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and diuretics.
Your diabetes management partner
Newly diagnosed with diabetes? Need tips on managing your condition? WHA has partnered with Optum-a leading provider of wellness programs-to help customize your diabetes management services.
When you join the program, you’ll receive a welcome kit that includes a diabetes workbook and other materials. You may also be matched with a registered nurse who will provide ongoing advice and strategies on managing your diabetes.
WHA’s diabetes management program through Optum is available to members 18 to 56 years of age. You can apply to the program by completing the online disease management referral form at mywha.org/dm.
You can also contact Optum directly at 877.793.3655. All the programs are voluntary, and participants can choose to “opt out” at any time by contacting Optum or WHA’s Member Services at 888.563.2250.
Not sure what to do?
If you have a medical concern and are not sure what to do, contact our Nurse24 advice line at 877.793.3655 or via chat to ask any health questions. Nurse24 is accessible anytime, 24/7. Visit mywha.org/Nurse24 for more information.
In between doctor visits, you can also look to wellness classes available through WHA’s medical groups to help improve your skills in managing your diabetes.
Having trouble deciding on a recommended drug or treatment plan?
Visit mywha.org/wellness to access an interactive Decision Aid tool.