Blood Pressure: Florence Brown, M.D.
Blood pressure measurement is one of the most important tests to have done when you have diabetes. By keeping your blood pressure in check you can avoid serious complications such as heart failure, strokes, kidney and eye disease.
At Joslin we recommend you have your blood pressure measured at every doctor's visit, or at least once a year. You should aim for blood pressure readings of 130/80 mmHg or better. If you already have complications due to diabetes, such as kidney disease, you should get your blood pressure under 125/75.
Getting your blood pressure measured is quick and easy. A blood pressure cuff is wrapped around your upper left arm. The cuff is then inflated, and the doctor taking the blood pressure reading will track your heart sounds as the cuff is released. Often, the doctor will also take your pulse at the conclusion of the test.
Lifestyle changes can help lower your blood pressure. A nutrition plan, physical activity, losing weight, minimizing stress and reducing salt and caffeine intake all have a positive effect. Medication can also play an important role in regulating blood pressure. In some cases we suggest that you monitor your blood pressure at home between doctor visits as these tests provide important data on how your blood pressure varies between medical appointments.
Remember, with proper treatment and management of blood pressure, you can live a long life and reduce your chances of experiencing the severe consequences of high blood pressure. Know your blood pressure numbers and take the necessary steps to keep it under good control.
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