Blood Pressure in Type 2 Diabetes Management
Blood pressure is the force that blood has against the walls of the arteries. When the heart beats, it pumps oxygenated blood through the arteries to reach every part of the body.
Blood pressure is reflected in two figures.
Systolic pressure: is the figure that appears higher and occurs when the heart pumps blood.
Diastolic pressure: is the figure that has a lower number and occurs when the heart is “resting” between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury as follows: mmHg. Generally, the systolic pressure number comes before the diastolic pressure number and both are separated by a diagonal line. For example, 120/80. In this example 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure.
Why blood pressure is important for type 2 diabetes (T2D) management
Blood pressure gives us an idea of how hard our heart works when pumping blood to every part of our body. Its measurement is important as it is an indicator of the effort our heart makes or an indicator that something is not working as it should.
Know your numbers
In November 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology provided new guidance for the identification of hypertension in adults with a new category called “prehypertension.” The term prehypertension refers to a high range but not high enough to be considered hypertension, but which can be an indicator of the risk of developing or presenting hypertension.
The classification proposed by these two organizations is:
Normal blood pressure: 120/80 mmHg
Prehypertension: between 120/80 and 139/89 mmHg
High blood pressure: equal to or greater than 140/90 mmHg
Why you need to watch your blood pressure
Many times, high blood pressure is not accompanied by symptoms, which can pose a health risk. The doctor or the medical team can give an indication of the number of times a person should measure blood pressure and at what times of the day.
It should be noted that measuring blood pressure is not a treatment, but part of the tools that help to know what actions to take and prevent any future health problems.
Treatment to lower blood pressure includes a healthy diet that helps maintain weight in a healthy range, exercise, avoid smoking and, depending on medical advice, it may be necessary to take medications to lower it. Measuring blood pressure on a regular basis helps to identify any situations that may need early attention.
How to measure blood pressure at home
There are several pieces of medical equipment to measure blood pressure at home and the doctor can help you make the most appropriate decision. Some of these blood pressure monitors can be used at home and do not require specialized training or a stethoscope, which is a device the doctor uses to listen to the heartbeat and know the data.
Depending on the type, this device can be used around the wrist or the arm. These devices may inflate automatically or may require air to be manually pumped into them. It comes with an indicator either with numbers or hands or with a digital display that makes it easy to read.
There are also manual monitors that have a sleeve that is inflated by means of a knob that is pumped, for this type of monitor it is necessary to use a stethoscope.
Factors to consider when buying a blood pressure monitor
- It must have clear instructions and be easy to use for both the patient, the family or the caregiver.
- That it is the right size because if the bracelet does not fit well, the information it provides may be incorrect.
- The size of the numbers or hands to read the pressures.
- If you decide on a manual monitor, it is necessary for you to have a stethoscope and that the stethoscope is the right size for your ears, in addition, it is important to know what each sound means in order to make a correct reading.
- The choice will depend on the needs and the ease required for its handling, in addition, among the electric ones there are some that also measure the number of heartbeats per minute, and recording this is also useful in heart care.