The risk factors for diabetes can be modifiable and non-modifiable. Modifiable risk factors include those that can be controlled/changed such as eating an unhealthy diet packed with salt and saturated fats, consumption of alcohol and tobacco, being overweight/obese and physical inactivity.
Non-modifiable risk factors include risk factors that cannot be controlled or even changed such as a family history of hypertension, age and pre-existing health conditions such as kidney disease.
The combination of both conditions; Diabetes and Hypertension, is extremely harmful and significantly increases a person’s risk of developing various cardiovascular conditions such as a heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease with angina and atherosclerosis (the hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels and arteries). Adopting healthy lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure. This is especially important for those living with diabetes as the risk of developing hypertension is doubled. In other words, diabetes is also a risk factor for hypertension
Persistent high blood pressure is a serious medical condition which affects over 1 billion adults between the ages of 20-79 globally. Left untreated, it increases the risk of developing cardiovascular, brain and kidney conditions. It is estimated that about 46% of those who have hypertension are unaware of their condition and only 42% of those with the condition are diagnosed and treated. Data from a 2017 nationwide survey in Nigeria suggests that the prevalence of hypertension in Nigeria was 38.1%, quite critical. Hypertension is a major cause of premature deaths globally.
Hypertension is also called the silent killer – because it generally does not show warning signs or symptoms. It is therefore important to check one’s blood pressure levels regularly. Those who experience symptoms may present with nosebleeds, headaches, vision changes and irregular heart rhythms. When high blood pressure becomes severe, it may cause nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain and tremors.
How can the other risk of developing hypertension be reduced?
Reducing hypertension significantly reduces the risk of developing heart, kidney and other conditions in the body. Some of the ways hypertension can be reduced include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a healthy diet which includes eating more fruits and vegetables
- Engaging in exercise
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Reducing salt intake
- Avoiding tobacco use
Those who already have high blood pressure need to ensure constant monitoring. They need to treat hypertension with prescribed medication and avoid/manage stress.
Odili et al, 2017. Prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of hypertension in Nigeria: Data from a Nationwide survey 2017
Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2021Leave a reply