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Half of diabetics have high blood pressure

Medics need to do more once hypertension is identified

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Half of people with diabetes in the UK are not meeting their blood pressure target.

This is the message from the charity Diabetes UK which today has issued a warning to remind diabetic patients that high blood pressure puts them at risk of diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.

Just 50.7% of people with diabetes met this target during 2009/10, according to the analysis. This is barely an improvement on the previous year when 50% of people met the target.

The data comes from National Diabetes Audit information about England, but if the percentage was mirrored across the UK then it would mean that more than 1.4 million of the 2.9 million people with diabetes have high blood pressure. In contrast, just 30% of the general population is estimated to have high blood pressure.

A recent survey by Diabetes UK showed that most people with diabetes (91%) are getting their annual blood pressure but not enough is then done to help patients to keep this under control.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive for Diabetes UK, said, "Given the link between blood pressure and diabetes-related complications such as stroke, kidney failure and heart disease, it is extremely worrying that half of people with diabetes have high blood pressure.

"People with diabetes need to be aware that high blood pressure can have a hugely damaging effect on their health. But instead, we are in danger of high blood pressure becoming the norm in people with the condition, and this is one of the reasons they are experiencing record rates of stroke and kidney failure and are dying years younger than the rest of the population.

“We need to get the message across that if you have diabetes then not only should you be aware of your blood pressure, but if it is high then reducing it should be one of your top priorities.”

She adds: "It is also important that healthcare professionals realise that measuring the blood pressure of people with diabetes is the start of the process rather than the end of it. Once people with high blood pressure are identified, healthcare professionals then need to work with that person to bring it down to an acceptable level."

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