Know your numbers

People living with diabetes are familiar with the phrase, “Know your numbers.” This includes knowing your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. We know that high blood pressure is a big risk factor for serious health complications related to diabetes. Blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number). Today, most doctors recommend that people with diabetes should aim for a blood pressure of less than 130/80 mmHg. However, until recently, most of the discussion has been about the top (systolic) number of 130.

Diastolic blood pressure is also important

Extremely low diastolic blood pressure is linked to increased risk for heart complications, including an early heart attack. Researchers have looked at the evidence to decide, when it comes to diastolic blood pressure, how low is low for people who already have a good systolic pressure. The study included findings from 7,515 adults who had a treated systolic blood pressure of less than 130. In this study, they found that diastolic blood pressure less than 60 mm Hg was linked to a significantly increased risk of heart attacks and stroke even if the systolic was well controlled. The lowest risk was observed at a diastolic blood pressure value between 70 and 80 mmHg.

Ask your doctor for your blood pressure numbers

This study shows the importance of having a regular blood pressure check and understanding what the numbers mean.


Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels