Blood pressure?


#1

Hi, I am having periods of high blood pressure and I don’t understand why. I have had type 1 for 60 yrs and am 68. I eat a vegan plant based diet and ride my exercise bike 10 miles almost every day. I weigh 107. My A1c hasn’t been higher than 5.5 in almost 20 yrs. I really dislike taking anything besides insulin, although I just started taking 10 mgs of a statin 3 times a week.

I have tried lots of things that supposedly lower blood pressure including breathing exercises with meditation, beet juice, and teas.

I imagine that my mom had high blood pressure, but my older sister doesn’t.

I have tried a couple of blood pressure meds recently but they make me cough, so then I tried the natural things I mentioned and those worked for awhile, but now my blood pressure is definitely too high.

I have never believed that people with diabetes need to be on blood pressure and cholesterol meds just because they have diabetes, but I guess I now need meds besides insulin. My life has not been easy due to my family’s serious health problems, so it is hard for me to be completely relaxed and stress free. I guess that is rather an understatement. :laughing:

Anyway has anyone used any natural ways of lowering blood pressure that have worked for you? Or do you have favorite blood pressure meds, that I might not have heard of?


#2

My BP isn’t super high, so I haven’t been taking meds. They haven’t reduced my BP anyway, but I need a higher dose. There are side effects, but due to the presence of kidney disease in my family, I was prescribed Amlodipine besylate 10 MG.

My BP is much lower than the rest of my family (who are non-diabetics), but age catches up with you. It is what it is. I am 37. I will probably start meds soon.

I was more surprised about the cholesterol meds. I thought that I wouldn’t get high cholesterol because I have been vegetarian all my life. But, low and behold, what you eat has little to do with it. Everybody produces cholesterol overnight while sleeping. I produce a bit too much.


#3

I recall reading somewhere that descendants of Nordic cultures have a higher incidence of cholesterol related issues. Given I can’t recall the source right away, the info may be suspect


#4

My Endo put me on a statin when my blood pressure was a steady slightly over 200. He said that it was important for Type 1 to keep there blood pressure below 200 for heart health.


#5

Marilyn - Up until several months ago, I’d been on a combination of BP meds since 1996. I developed high BP for no reason other than 30+ years of T1.

As diabetics we’re fooling ourselves if we believe that after 40, 50 or 60 years with no complications we’re bulletproof… Ultimately we all face the music, especially those of us who tried controlling our sugars with little more than Clinitest.

For me, elevated BP was diabetic renal disease, easily diagnosed by testing for elevated urine proteins and creatinine levels.

Standard meds include Avelide (Irbesartan), Norvasc (aka Amlodipine, a calcium channel blocker), and then the beta blockers (I used Bisoprolol). Other common meds are ACE inhibitors and ARB’s.


#6

My doctor checks my Creatinine levels regularly, so I think I am ok there. Fingers always crossed though! Thanks for the info Jim.


#7

High blood pressure will wreck kidneys and other organs pretty quickly so it is best to do something to get it down. I know what you mean about coughs as I had lots of problems with that and BP meds, I had such a problem with it that I needed an asthma puffer to breath. After trying many first line meds, to find something without chest issues, I found Irbesartan and Diltiazem (a calcium channel blocker that also reduces heart rate which is good for people who cant or don’t want to use a beta blocker) reduced my BP and heart rate without any breathing issues. There are many other ‘natural’ things you could try also but I would recommend getting your BP down to an acceptable level while you try. I also find beet juice lowers my BP 10-15 mmHg systolic.


#8

Sounds good rockstar. Thanks for the info.


#9

@anon51000362 - I’m in total agreement with you on the beta blocker. Horrible medicine, even though it does exactly what it’s supposed to (reduced my resting heart rate from 82 to 55). In doing so also completely slowed down my metabolism, and it’s easy to see why people gain weight on it.


#10

I use an infrared sauna and it usually knocks my bp down 10-20 points immediately after use, and studies have shown it lowers it in the long run also. They also have many other great health benefits. I can’t recommend it enough.


#11

The sodium in salt raises blood pressure for many people. You might check your grocery store for salt substitutes, and choose one that is mainly potassium chloride.


#12

Thanks Robert. I try to use very little salt, which is fairly easy to do since we make almost everything we eat from scratch. I also have to make sure I don’t cut out all salt because my blood sodium levels drop too low which can be very dangerous.

Just had to quit my second try at a low dose BP med. This one made me very dizzy yesterday. I felt like I was hypoglycemic all day and I wasn’t low enough to cause those kinds of symptoms.


#13

I have slightly elevated blood pressure. My doctor first prescribed Lisinopril, but that caused a dry, constant cough.

Now I take a losartan/ HCTZ combo pill (50mg/12.5mg) and it keeps my BP consistently under 110/70.

Right now most losartan pills are under recall because of contamination, but it could be a good option once that is sorted out. I’m taking my non-recalled stash as long as it lasts, hopefully it will hold out until new losartan ships.


#14

It’s great that you’ve got such good bg control.

At same time, there are very good reasons for diabetics to have aggressively low blood pressure targets, in fact aggressively lower targets than the normal non-diabetic population.

High blood pressure by itself is a big risk factor for retinopathy and kidney disease and the other microvascular complications that diabetics face.

You mention coughing which presumably is from an ACE/ARB inhibitor in your BP medication you tried. There’s good reasons for diabetics to be on ACE/ARB inhibitor and if you aren’t compatible with one particular ACE inhibitor you may be compatible with a different one. Even if you find yourself completely incompatible with all ACE inhibitors there are still good BP medications that will help you without the coughing symptoms.

Again, yes, sometimes it feels like they are “raising the bar”. They expect us to have not just good bg control but also aggressively low targets for blood pressure. My advice is to take all the help you can get and that probably means some BP medication.

I am 51, have been T1 for almost 40 years, and have a long history of heart disease in males in my family history. Most docs (specifically endos) just look at T1 and stop there. But one of my goals is to get all the help I can get with prevention and early detection/treatment of anything related to the heart. That means that I have pre-emptorily pointed out the family history of heart disease to every doc and specialist I have an appointment with, and also pre-emptorily scheduling appointments with heart doctors for cardiovascular testing way above and beyond what any of my docs would recommend by themselves.

I know that us T1 diabetics have a long history and tradition of “going it alone” in terms of taking on bg control personally. We may even be described as control freaks unwilling to ask for help or accept help because we think of bg control as so personal. But for heart disease prevention I see NOTHING WRONG with seeking professional advice and medication even though I have to fight my long-ingrained control freak attitudes.


#15

I will say that I believe if you need the medicine to help with a medical problem, you need it. I think many worry how many they are taking. And as long as you and your doctor review your medications frequently and you are not taking things you no longer need, then you should be good.
I did take a blood pressure medicine a long time ago when it was the in thing for all people with diabetes to take it to help protect the kidneys. And during a med review, we decided to stop it because I didn’t have blood pressure issues and some research was saying it wasn’t necessary. But if your medical team thinks your pressure is to that point that you need some help, take it. And if the first drug had side effects you couldn’t handle, ask to try something else. There are options out there and something will work. I also do find with any new prescription, you need to give it a few weeks to work through side effect. When I took Victoza, the side effects were noticeable but cleared for me in about a week.
Good luck finding something that works for you.


#16

Hi Tim. Yes, I am a control freak :blush:. But for me strict control really pays off. I have no retinopathy, neuropathies, and my kidneys are fine. Ten years ago when my LDL was very high I found that I needed two heart stents. Now I am on a very low fat vegan plant based diet. I also get a lot of exercise.

I don’t know why I needed stents, but it could be because of the 22 yrs of urine testing finally caught up with me. I was also undergoing severe stress, and I had a grandfather who died of a heart attack. I am doing everything I can do to keep my heart healthy. I do feel that a high fat diet played a part in needing stents.

I should not need blood pressure meds, but I now seem to. I imagine it is because my mom had high blood pressure.

I certainly am not afraid to get advice from specialists as long as they completely understand diabetes and my level of control. I have no secrets about my health and my doctors know that.

I will talk to my GP about different meds to try. So far, coughing and dizziness are not making me happy, but like you I will persevere to find something that works well.

Thanks,

Marilyn


#17

P4Thanks Sally. I don’t really have a team of doctors. I have a GP whom I really like, and a cardiologist I see once a yr. All three of us are concerned about my BP which has risen in the last few months. It was always under 130/70 before this. None of us understand why it is rising. My mom had high blood pressure, but she was overweight and I am not. Actually mine has risen as I have incorporated more exercise into my routine. The exact opposite of what should be happening. Of course my husband is on 2 BP meds and he is thin and athletic and non diabetic. His parents took


#18

Sorry, I shouldn’t type while riding an exercise bike. My husbands’s parents had high blood pressure. I guess I need to stop fighting this. Hopefully I can find one that works for me.
Thanks Sally.


#19

Again, “the bar has been raised”. And it’s raised especially for diabetics, those with past heart disease, and those with family history of heart disease. I have two of those risk factors, and you have all three.

What used to be an “acceptable” blood pressure number just a few years ago is now too high. Having a low blood pressure target, I view as progressive in the same way as having A1C in the 5’s as a progressive target.


#20

I’m in my 30s and have had diabetes for 27 years. I’ve been on and off blood pressure medication since my 20s. For a while my high blood pressure came and went (labile hypertension), and there was some thought that it could be white coat hypertension. About a year ago, my blood pressure was consistently very high, around 180/95, so I was put back on medication. Even with taking an ARB, my blood pressure was still around 175/90, so I was put on a calcium channel blocker in addition to the ARB. (Years ago I tried an ACE inhibitor and had bad side effects, so I was switched to an ARB, and have had no issues with them.) I’m also taking a small dose of beta blocker to reduce my resting heart rate from around 130 bpm to 90 bpm (a separate issue from the blood pressure, I suspect). Even with all that, my blood pressure is still often 135/85 at home, which is borderline high, and when I’m out and about can be much higher such as 165/90. So there is a possibility I will need another blood pressure medication. I have had my sleep apnea treated, which is often a cause of high blood pressure, but so far have had no improvement. I also started taking a low dose of a statin this fall, since my cholesterol is high for someone with diabetes (but otherwise wouldn’t be considered high).

I have always needed medications other than insulin, but in my 20s being on medication for things like blood pressure really bothered me. Ten years down the road, I am beyond caring. I wouldn’t be functional or even alive without many of the medications I take, and my use of medications is likely to only rise as I get older, so I’ve just accepted it as part of my life.

Based on everything I know about blood pressure, high blood pressure is just as damaging and deadly as high blood sugar. It is not something I would mess around with personally. It can cause most of the same complications as diabetes, including kidney failure, heart disease, blindness, strokes, and more. Regardless of the cause, I’d choose medication that kept it normal over taking no medication and letting it run even slightly high.