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ISTOCK.COM


WELL-BEING *


Other risk factors for high blood pressure include having a poor diet, the lack of exer- cise, alcohol consumption and increased salt intake. Although each of these risk factors can increase blood pressure, when combined they increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke significantly. So it’s impor- tant to pay attention to your diet, especially your intake of salt and alcohol, and your activ- ity level, particularly if you have diabetes.


HEALTHY NUTRITION To help control blood pressure, you should stick to a diet low in sodium (salt). Your kidneys excrete extra fluids from the body by delicately balancing the amount of salt and electrolytes and utilizing a process known as osmosis. If people with diabetes increase their salt intake, there will be more salt in the body than in the kidneys, so water will flow from the kidneys back into the body.


The result is withholding more fluids, which will raise blood pressure because more fluid in the blood vessels means more pressure on the walls of the blood vessels, which equals higher blood pressure. A low-salt diet will help prevent the retention of extra fluids that increase blood pressure.


BEING FIT


Exercise has been proven to reduce resting blood pressure. It has also been shown to as- sist the body in reducing blood sugar levels. When you exercise, your muscles help to pull extra sugar out of the bloodstream. The com- bination of these improvements significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with diabetes. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends exercis- ing 30 minutes each day, five days a week, to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.


BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. On its own, high blood pres- sure can cause damage to the kidneys. If a pa- tient has both high blood pressure and what may be evidence of an early sign of kidney disease (microalbuminuria), then in order to protect the kidneys, a healthcare provider may prescribe an ACE inhibitor. This medicine has been found to prevent damage to the kidneys, which is a concern for people with diabetes. Ace inhibitors help high blood pressure and protect the kidneys.


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