High Blood Pressure Common, Undertreated in Diabetes

High blood pressure affects 71 percent of people with diabetes but few of them receive adequate treatment to achieve recommended levels, according to a new study.

Of those with diabetes and high blood pressure, 71 percent are aware of their high blood pressure and 57 percent are taking medication for the problem. Both of these numbers are higher than for the general population. However, greater awareness and treatment efforts did not result in better control, says lead author Linda S. Geiss, M.A., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study appears in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Among people with diabetes who were using prescription drugs to control high blood pressure, 43 percent had brought their blood pressure below the recommended threshold for healthy blood pressure. This is slightly less than the 45 percent of people without diabetes who have their blood pressure controlled with medication.

Twenty percent of people with diabetes and high blood pressure either were not advised on or chose not to adopt advice on lowering their blood pressure

The discrepancy between treatment and blood pressure control in both populations could arise from a number of factors, the authors say, including inadequate access to medical care and prescription medications, inappropriate or ineffective treatments and lack of patient adherence to prescription medications and lifestyle modifications.

The study used data on 1,507 people with diabetes from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The goal for healthy blood pressure was set at below 130/85 mm Hg, based on the diabetes-specific recommendations contained in the sixth report of the Joint National Commission on the Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.

Blood pressure at or above 130/85 mm Hg is considered a risk factor for heart disease among with people with diabetes. Previous studies have shown that reducing blood pressure reduces the risk of death and cardiovascular disease.

Control of elevated blood pressure among people with diabetes is inadequate. Because recent studies have documented the substantial benefits and cost effectiveness of blood pressure control among people with diabetes, effective intervention efforts are urgently needed to improve blood pressure control, Geiss says.

Source: Center for the Advancement of Health