Do you suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure? About 75% of people with diabetes have type 2 and go on to develop high blood pressure, but are often left in the dark about what is actually happening inside their bodies. There are many treatment options for high blood pressure you can try out.
As I have often repeated through the pages of this website, doctors are under pressure today. With more patients on their lists and less time for each one, it`s obvious why they don`t offer any explanations.
So the responsibility lies with us to educate ourselves. But what a difference it makes when we do. Understanding how our bodies work can open our eyes to where the real, underlying problem lies, impress on our minds the seriousness of our condition, the importance of making changes, and empowering us to make them.
A group of metabolic processes malfunction during the development of type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure will begin to surface as a direct, and indirect result of them.
This malfunction of particular metabolic processes is sometimes called Metabolic Syndrome X? What is Metabolic Syndrome X? It is a cluster of health conditions all related to one another. They include insulin resistance, central obesity (fat around the middle), high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, and decreased HDL cholesterol. This article will help you understand how this cluster is related to diabetes and high blood pressure. So lets start at the beginning.
What might we be eating and drinking on a regular basis? All manner of fizzy drinks, sugary snacks, and high glycemic foods! What are typical high glycemic foods? Foods such as –
- White bread or rolls
- Water Melon (This surprised me too!)
- Instant potatoes
- Baked potatoes
- Broad beans
- Short grain or instant white rice
We are now reaching the stages where we will begin to see the connection between diabetes and high blood pressure so bear with me.These are just a sample of a wide range. See the Glycemic Index Food Chart for a full list of high, medium and low glycemic foods.
Foods with no carbohydrates or very little will not be listed as a glycemic food.
With a balanced diet, which may include high glycemic foods, your pancreas will release insulin from Beta cells that open up your body`s cell receptors to take in the glucose (sugar) and store it as energy. When there is too much glucose in the blood, insulin triggers the liver and muscle cells to store the excess as glycogen. If and when sugar levels drop too low, another hormone from the Alpha cells in the pancreas will release the glycogen from these “store houses” to restore blood sugar levels. In normal conditions your body works very efficiently keeping healthy balanced sugar levels around 70-110 mg per dl.
Eating too much high glycemic foods on a regular basis for a few years starts the ball rolling. During this time your pancreas will have been producing a lot of insulin to cope with the constant high levels of sugar in the blood. At this stage your body`s cell are being damaged by the constant release of insulin and start to “close down”. Now your fat, liver and muscle cells become “insulin resistant”, a condition included in the Metabolic Syndrome X cluster. You may be familiar with this medical term “insulin resistant”. When the receptors stop working the glucose can`t get into the cells. They cease to respond to the insulin and the end results in too much sugar in the blood. You have now developed diabetes.We are now reaching the stages where we will begin to see the connection between diabetes and high blood pressure so bear with me.
More Metabolic Trouble Linking Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
Your pancreas fights hard to get glucose into the cells by producing even more insulin and this may work for a while but eventually, if the vicious circle continues, the Beta cells will burn out and won`t produce insulin any more.
But this stage is advanced. Before that happens, when the pancreas is still pumping out the insulin, the connection between diabetes and high blood pressure is gaining ground. How so?
Insulin is the major hormone for your body`s metabolic processes, so when it is constantly on override, it affects your body`s ability to burn fat, which leads to obesity, one more condition in the Metabolic Syndrome X cluster. Obesity puts you at high risk of developing high blood pressure.
Again the high levels of insulin damage artery walls leading to atherosclerosis, a major contributor to high blood pressure.
Constant high levels of insulin causes an imbalance of vitamin and minerals which need to maintain a finely balanced ratio to regulate high blood pressure.
Two other symptoms of type 2 diabetes that can develop are a constant thirst and diabetic neuropathy. Both can cause kidney damage or disease, one through excess urination, and the other through micro-vascular injury. If your kidneys become damaged it causes secondary hypertension and then another destructive cycle emerges.
Then there is the problem with the fat cells which we spoke about earlier becoming insulin resistant. When this happens, they increase free fatty acids in the blood, a recognized condition in the Metabolic Syndrome X cluster. This occurs because there is a breakdown of stored triglycerides. Ultimately it can result in the development of plaque in arteries, a major contributor to elevated blood pressure.
Can Diet Reverse Diabetes and High Blood Pressure?
If these problems are all triggered off by eating too much high glycemic foods, soda and sugary snacks, is there a diet for insulin resistance then that can control diabetes and high blood pressure? You certainly need to change your diet. Choose foods that are not high on the Glycemic Index and necessity dictates that you cut right down even on medium glycemic foods. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. Drink enough water, but don`t overdo it.
However, changing your diet alone will not rectify the condition, or stop the ball rolling.You have already learned that cell receptors become damaged, kidneys are weakened, beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed, etc, so you need to address the whole Metabolic Syndrome conditions to accomplish any reversal effects of insulin resistance.
Are conventional drugs the answer? They are a quick fix solution but cause more problems in the long run as they complicate matters. Instead, there are natural ways that work with the body and support the healing of all the body`s systems for a simultaneous effect.
Here are some PubMed links that lend scientific support to the usefulness of Stevia, a natural alternative to sugar that may have therapeutic effects on glucose tolerance and also hypertension.