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What is the link between diabetes and hypertension?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, often occurs alongside diabetes and obesity. Together, these conditions fall under the umbrella of metabolic syndrome. People with metabolic syndrome are at an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Hypertension and diabetes share a number of common causes and risk factors. A person who has one condition is at an increased risk for developing the other.

Likewise, a person who has both conditions may find that each condition worsens the other.

This article provides information on the link between high blood pressure and diabetes, including how to identify, prevent, and treat each condition.Identifying hypertension and diabetesSome relatively simple tests are available to help a person identify whether they have diabetes or hypertension.

Identifying hypertension.

American Heart Association (AHA)Trusted Source states that most people who have hypertension do not experience any symptoms. People usually discover that they have hypertension following a routine blood pressure check.

A blood pressure reading will display numbers representing two different types of blood pressure: systolic and diastolic.


This number appears at the top. It represents the maximum pressure the heart exerts when beating.


This number appears at the bottom. It represents the amount of pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.The AHATrusted Source categorizes blood pressure readings according to the following parameters:

Normal: Systolic is below 120 and diastolic is below 80.

Elevated: Systolic is 120–129 and diastolic is below 80.

Hypertension stage 1: Systolic is 130–139 or diastolic is 80–89.

Hypertension stage 2: Systolic is 140 or higher, or diastolic is 90 or higher.

Hypertensive crisis: Systolic is higher than 180 or diastolic is above 120.

A hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency, and a person requires immediate medical attention to prevent severe.


Not everyone with diabetes will experience symptoms of the disease.If symptoms of high blood glucose levels do appear, they may include:excessive thirst excessive hungerfrequent need to urinate extreme fatigue blurred vision delayed wound healing.

A person may also find that they become more susceptible to infections, such as: urinary tract infections (UTIs) thrushupper respiratory tract infections

People can take a fasting glucose test to help identify diabetes.

The ADA provides the following parameters for blood glucose levels following a fasting period of at least 8 hours:Normal: This is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).

Prediabetes: This is between 100–125 mg/dl.

Diabetes: This is a reading of 126 mg/dl or above.Other tests for diabetes can show blood glucose levels after drinking a sugary drink.

Types of diabetes and their symptoms

There are three kinds of diabetes, all of which have different causes:

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly attacks cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The disease tends to appear during childhood or adolescence, though it can occur later in life.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs as a result of insulin resistance. This is where body cells lose their ability to respond to insulin. The pancreas tries to compensate by producing more insulin, but the process is not sustainable.

Current guidelines recommend diabetes screening for everyone ages 45 years or above, and anyone younger who has risk factors for the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow or even reverse the disease, reducing the risk of complications.Learn more about type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs only in pregnancy, though around 50% Trusted Source of females with this form go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

If a routine screening shows high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, a doctor will monitor the person’s condition until a few weeks after delivery. In most cases, blood sugar levels return to normal immediately after delivery.Learn more here about gestational diabetes.

What is the link between diabetes and hypertension?

A 2021 article notes that diabetes and hypertension often occur together and may share some common causes. These include:sedentary lifestyle with excessive calorie intakeobesityinflammationoxidative stressinsulin resistance.

Can diabetes cause hypertension?

A person with diabetes either does not have enough insulin to process glucose or their insulin does not work effectively. Insulin is the hormone that enables the body to process glucose from food and use it as energy.

When a person has insulin problems, glucose cannot enter their cells to provide energy, so it accumulates in the bloodstream instead.High blood glucose levels can cause widespread damage to tissues and organs, including those that play a key role in maintaining healthy blood pressure. For example, damage to the blood vessels and kidneys can cause blood pressure to rise.

Do people with diabetes have higher rates of hypertension?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that around 47%Trusted Source of adults in the United States have hypertension or are taking medication to manage the condition.By comparison, the ADA states that 2 in 3 people with diabetes either report hypertension or are taking prescription medication to lower their blood pressure.The above statistics suggest that people with diabetes have higher rates of hypertension compared to the general population.

Can hypertension cause diabetes?According to a 2018 article people with high blood pressure usually have insulin resistance and have an increased risk of developing diabetes compared to those with typical blood pressure.

This may be due to bodily processes that link both conditions, such as:inflammationoxidative stressactivation of the immune systemdisease or thickening of the blood vesselsobesitySo while hypertension might not cause diabetes directly, it could increase the risk of someone developing diabetes if they have high blood pressure.

Diabetes and hypertension complications

The combined impact of diabetes and high blood pressure can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and other health issues. Without treatment, diabetes and high blood pressure may lead to serious complications, such as:eye problems kidney failure heart attack stroke.

Managing blood sugar levels and blood pressure can help prevent complications.

Risk factors

Hypertension and type 2 diabetes share similar risk factors. These include:

being overweight or having obesityhaving a sedentary lifestyle

following an unhealthy diet

experiencing chronic stress

having poor sleep habit

ssmoking tobaccobeing exposed to air pollution

Additional risk factors for hypertension include:

a diet high in sodiumlow levels of potassium

high alcohol consumption

Having a family history of hypertension increases the risk of hypertension, suggesting a role for both genetic and environmental factors.

A close family history of diabetes also increases the risk of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Having hypertension appears to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and having diabetes increases the risk of hypertension.


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