Diabetes And Hypertension: Role Of Lifestyle Modifications
Diabetes and hypertension: These conditions can be effectively controlled with healthy diet and lifestyle. Read here to know how these can help.
Regular exercise can help you regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- A fibre rich diet can help you control blood pressure
- You should exercise for at least 30 minutes in a day
- Avoid highly processed foods as they are loaded with sugar and salt
An individual with uncontrolled diabetes is at risk of developing complications which may affect the heart, kidney, eye or stroke to occur in the brain. Uncontrolled hypertension can also affect the heart causing thickening of the heart muscles eventually leading to heart failure. It can also cause kidney dysfunction resulting in chronic kidney disease necessitating dialysis. Prolonged high blood pressure can precipitate strokes in the brain, and occasionally it may result in the rupture of a blood vessel leading to brain haemorrhage which is a potentially fatal condition. So, you can see that both diabetes and hypertension if uncontrolled target the same organs in the body. Hence if the same individual has poorly controlled diabetes and hypertension together the risk of all these problems is doubled, and if smoking is added to the list, then it is like adding fuel to the fire.
However, there is good news. Both of these can be controlled with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Stress -is a main trigger for the worsening of both these conditions. This maybe sudden severe stress caused by events like death, serious illness in the family, loss of job or others. Most people today suffer from long term background stress which may be related to job stress, or chronic emotional stress or in today's world anxiety caused by the Covid pandemic. Since there are no effective medicines to tackle stress, it tends to be neglected by physicians and patients alike. Instead, most patients are on multiple medications to treat both diabetes and hypertension. A more sensible approach would be to go back to the basics and encourage a healthy diet, regular physical exercise and reduction of body weight which will go a long way in controlling both these problems. If basic lifestyle changes are implemented and continued long-term, medicines if required, will be in much less dosage and numbers.
To tackle the problem of stress there are a number of effective methods like meditation or regular practice of yoga which will help you to alleviate stress. So, a proper understanding and strict adherence to lifestyle modifications along with appropriate medication will help keep both diabetes and hypertension under check and prevent all the dreadful complications that have been mentioned.
(Dr Harish Kumar, Professor & Head, Department of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Amrita Hospital, Kochi)
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