Lower Your Sugar Intake To Reduce High Blood Pressure
05/22/2019 | 2 min. read
Dr. Stephen Sinatra
There are now several studies confirming that too much sugar will put you at a greater risk for developing heart disease than too much cholesterol. Yet, while Americans are very aware of the dangers of high cholesterol, few people are educated about how harmful sugar can be. One of the biggest dangers is how it can be a cause for high blood pressure .
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Digestive Endocrine And Circulatory Systems
After you eat, your digestive system breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into glucose. Essentially, glucose is your bodys fuel source.
As your sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which helps glucose get taken up and used by cells throughout your body. If you have insulin-dependent diabetes, you must take the right about of insulin to get the job done.
Any excess glucose goes to your liver for storage.
When you go a few hours without eating, blood sugar levels go down. If you have a healthy pancreas, it releases a hormone called glucagon to make up for the absence of food. This hormone tells your liver to process the stored sugars and release them into your bloodstream.
If everything works as it should, your blood sugar levels should remain in the normal range until your next meal.
Insufficient blood sugar levels can cause a rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations. However, even if you have diabetes, you may not always have obvious symptoms of low blood sugar. This is a potentially dangerous condition called hypoglycemia unawareness. It happens when you experience low blood sugar so often that it changes your bodys response to it.
Normally, low blood sugar causes your body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine. Epinephrine is responsible for those early warning signs, like hunger and shakiness.
Oxidative Stress And Nox
Oxidative stress is a key mechanism of glucotoxicity in diabetes, as evidenced by increased vascular ROS generation in response to hyperglycemia and accumulation of oxidation by-products of lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.27 NADPH oxidases and dysfunctional endothelial nitric oxide synthase are principal sources of increased ROS in human vasculature in T2D.48, 49 ROS interact with DNA and stimulate many redox-sensitive signalling pathways that lead to inflammation, fibrosis, and vascular damage. Increased vascular oxidative stress in diabetes and hypertension promotes posttranslational oxidative modification of proteins, causing cellular damage and vascular dysfunction. Hyperglycemia also induces activation of redox-sensitive protein kinase C and polyol and hexosamine pathways, further contributing to mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and consequent cellular damage.50 Oxidative stress is also associated with reduced bioavailability of the vasodilator nitric oxide, causing endothelial dysfunction.
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Why Does Blood Sugar Go Down After Eating
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Your Blood Pressure Results
Youll get your results straight away. The reading on the monitor lets your healthcare team know whether your blood pressure is too high, too low or just right. But its important you understand your results too. Make a note of your reading at each appointment and get to know what the numbers mean.
Your healthcare team will agree a target level thats safe for you. Its important you do everything you can to keep in your target range. The longer your blood pressure is high, the more at risk you are of getting serious complications. Weve got lots of information and advice to help you bring your to the target level youve agreed with your healthcare team.
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Causes Of Low Blood Glucose
Low blood glucose is common for people with type 1 diabetes and can occur in people with type 2 diabetes taking insulin or certain medications. The average person with type 1 diabetes may experience up to two episodes of mild low blood glucose each week, and thats only counting episodes with symptoms. If you add in lows without symptoms and the ones that happen overnight, the number would likely be higher.
What Other Medications Can Accidentally Cause Low Blood Pressure
There are a variety of other medications that can unintentionally cause your blood pressure to drop, including cardiovascular drugs, diuretics, and beta blockers that are used to treat high blood pressure. Drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction can also result in low blood pressure, as can certain antidepressants, as well as medications prescribed for Parkinsons disease.
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How To Lower Your Blood Pressure
A lot of lowering your blood pressure is down to making positive lifestyle changes. But we know its not always that straightforward, and some people will need medication to help too.
- Try different ways to cope with stress
- Have less caffeine
Your healthcare team can support you with making these changes. Find out what healthcare checks and services you are entitled to.
Manage Your Diabetes Abcs
Know your diabetes ABCs to help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Stop smoking if you have diabetes to lower your chances of developing heart disease.
A is for the A1C test. The A1C test shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. This is different from the blood glucose checks you do every day. The higher your A1C number, the higher your blood glucose levels have been during the past 3 months. High levels of blood glucose can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.
The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7%. Some people may do better with a slightly higher A1C goal. Your A1C goals may also change as you get older and your lifestyle changes. Ask your health care team what your goal should be.
B is for blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels. If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. High blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke and damage your kidneys and eyes.
The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mm Hg. Ask what your goal should be.
S is for stop smoking. Quitting smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels, so your heart has to work harder. E-cigarettes arent a safe option either.
If you quit smoking
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Ut University Health Services
For some people, a blood sugar below 90 mg/dL can make them feel like this. For others, it takes a lower blood sugar to cause these symptoms.
You must watch your blood sugar level closely. Regular testing of your blood sugar may allow you to detect and treat hypoglycemia before it causes serious symptoms. You may be able to prevent ever having low blood sugar.
Some high blood pressure medicines called beta blockers hide the symptoms of hypoglycemia. If you are taking medicine for high blood pressure, ask your healthcare provider if the medicines you are taking could have this effect.
You should know the difference between the symptoms of low blood sugar and high blood sugar . High blood sugar doesnt always cause symptoms, but when it does the symptoms may include blurry vision, extreme thirst, and a lot of urination.
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What Are The Benefits Of Lowering Blood Pressure
There is now plenty of good evidence from studies that controlling blood pressure in people with diabetes reduces the risk of future complications.
A large research study called the UK Prospective Diabetes Study confirmed this. In this study, many people with diabetes were monitored over several years. The study found that those with well-controlled blood pressure had nearly a third less risk of dying from complications related to diabetes compared with those with poorly controlled blood pressure.
In fact, this study found that good control of blood pressure was even more beneficial than good control of the blood sugar level to reduce the risk of developing complications from diabetes.
Since this study, other studies have been undertaken which confirm these results.
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Why Is High Blood Pressure So Underdiagnosed And Under
About 1.28 million adults worldwide have high blood pressure, but only 42% have been diagnosed, and 21% have their blood pressure under control. High blood pressure is a major cause of premature death worldwide.4
Blood pressure is the force that circulating blood puts on the inner lining of your blood vessels. The left ventricle in your heart is a muscular chamber that contracts and provides the force that circulates blood throughout your body. When your blood vessels are narrowed due to fatty deposits or stiffened as glucose attaches to proteins in blood vessels, your heart must apply greater force to circulate your blood, and your blood pressure increases.
High blood pressure rarely causes any symptoms. Most people who have high blood pressure donât know they have the condition unless they have their blood pressure checked.
When blood pressure is measured, it is recorded as a ratio of two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure: This higher pressure occurs when the left ventricle contracts.
- Diastolic blood pressure: This lower pressure occurs when the left ventricle relaxes.
The American Heart Association categorizes normal and high blood pressure according to these parameters.
Normal blood pressure
- Systolic blood pressure less than 120 mm Hg
- Diastolic blood pressure less than 80 mm Hg
Elevated blood pressure
- Systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129 mm Hg
- Diastolic blood pressure less than 80 mm Hg
High blood pressure, stage 1
High blood pressure, stage 2
What Are The Warning Signs Of Heart Attack And Stroke
- pain or pressure in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
- pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or shoulders, or your back, neck, or jaw
- shortness of breath
- indigestion or nausea
- feeling very tired
Treatment works best when it is given right away. Warning signs can be different in different people. You may not have all the listed symptoms.
Women may experience chest pain, nausea, and vomiting feel very tired and have pain that spreads to the back, neck, throat, arms, shoulders, or jaw. People with diabetes-related nerve damage may not notice any chest pain.
If you have angina, its important to know how and when to seek medical treatment.
- weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
- confusion, or trouble talking or understanding
- dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
- trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- sudden, severe headache
If you have any one of these warning signs, call 9-1-1. You can help prevent permanent damage by getting to a hospital within an hour of a stroke.
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Mechanisms Of Vascular Complications In Diabetes And The Impact Of Hypertension
A number of interacting mechanisms are in play as summarized in the following sections .
Putative mechanisms whereby diabetes and hypertension cause vascular disease. Immune cell activation and inflammation are mediated through oxidative stress. AGEs, advanced glycation end products RAAS, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system RAGE, receptor AGE.
Tips To Avoid Low Blood Sugar
If you dont have diabetes, taking certain actions can help to avoid low blood sugar levels:
- Eat regular meals and dont skipping meals
- Ensure that your meals are balanced in terms of fat, protein, and fiber content
- Dont exercise close to bedtime
- Avoid alcohol late at night
- Dont travel to locations at high altitude
If you take insulin or other medication to lower your blood sugar, these actions may help to prevent you from having low blood sugar:
- Ask your provider about using a continuous glucose monitor
- Ensure that you are eating enough carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar in the ideal range, especially when taking insulin
- Eat a small snack before engaging in physical activity
- Review your current medications with your provider
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Blood Sugar And Insulin Response
When you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar, or blood glucose level, goes up. When your blood sugar level goes up, it sends signals to your pancreas to release the hormone insulin. Insulin then attaches to the sugar, or glucose, molecules and either carries them into your cells where theyre used for immediate energy or stored in the liver for use later. As insulin carries glucose out of your blood, your blood sugar levels go down. When your blood sugar levels go down, it signals your pancreas to release less insulin.
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Diabetes And Low Blood Pressure
Talk around blood pressure usually fixates what to do if blood pressure is too high. We know that hypertension is more typical in people with diabetes than individuals without diabetes. We also know that unchecked hypertension is a risk factor for stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease. The American Diabetes Association suggests a blood pressure objective of less than 140/80 for the majority of people with diabetes. But what if your blood pressure is too low? Is it cause for issue? And what do you do about it?
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Dash Diet Meal Ideas For Hypertension
Here are a few examples of the DASH diet-friendly meals that help promote low blood sugar and low blood pressure:
- Breakfast: For a DASH diet breakfast, try making quinoa porridge! Its basically a heartier version of oatmeal, with more high-quality protein and essential amino acids. Add cinnamon, sliced banana, raisins, and plant-based milk to hot, cooked quinoa. Top with a generous dollop of low-fat, low-sugar Greek yogurt. Serve with a side of brewed coffee and unsweetened almond milk for a liver-friendly, low-sugar beverage.
- Lunch: Make a salad bowl with a serving of whole-grain buckwheat pasta, soybeans, and sliced red pepper, carrots, cucumber, basil, and any other fresh vegetables and herbs of your choice for a powerful punch of antioxidants. Drizzle with a low-sodium, low-sugar peanut sauce or dressing of your choice.
- Dinner: For an anti-inflammatory dinner that promotes low blood pressure, try oven-baked salmon for healthy fats and optimal ratios of essential amino acids. Be sure to use a marinade thats low in salt and sugar. Serve with loads of veggies on the side by topping a bed of lettuce with chopped beets, roasted asparagus, and steamed broccoli, and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.
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How Does Sugar Contribute To Metabolic Syndrome
Sugary beverages and processed foods that contain lots of added sugar that are immediately broken down by the digestive system, entering the bloodstream in high amounts. This causes a spike in blood sugar levels. Lots of glucose is coursing through the blood vessels and in response, the pancreas releases insulin that signals to body tissues to use available glucose to power cellular processes. Though some glucose is vital for survival and normal energy levels, excess glucose causes inflammation and is stored as fat throughout the body and in the liver.
Over time, chronic consumption of excess glucose can cause inflammation that damages the pancreas and makes insulin unresponsive to glucose in the bloodstream. This results in hallmarks of metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
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Diabetes May Contribute To Hypertension
Elevated blood sugar stresses the blood vessels. Damage to the vessels causes them to narrow and accumulate plaque. Plaque is composed of different substances like cholesterol, fats, and waste products. Plaque buildup narrows the vessels even more and forces the heart to work harder to pump blood.
When the heart has to work harder, the force at which the blood pumps through the body increases. This leads to high blood pressure.
Plaque formation and buildup cause atherosclerosis. This condition can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease . PAD can include any number of diseases that impact the arteries that carry blood to distant parts of the body.
How To Treat Hypoglycemia
For people with diabetes, its advisable to try the following when experiencing low blood sugars that may or may not be causing dizziness:
- Treat the hypoglycemia by bringing glucose levels up: A standard response is to use the rule of 15. Eat or drink 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates . Then wait 15 minutes to check your glucose levels again. Repeat as needed until glucose levels are above 70 mg/dL.
When glucose levels are extremely low or dont respond to the 15-15 treatment, a dose of glucagon may be needed. If glucose levels dont respond to glucagon or no glucagon kit is available, you may need medical attention.
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