60% of diabetes patients suffer from uncontrolled BP, finds Amrita Hospital study

The study, published in the journal “Frontiers in Public Health” highlights the need for regular monitoring of BP of diabetes patients, especially those suffering from the disease for more than 11 years

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New Delhi: Six out of ten diabetes patients suffer from uncontrolled blood pressure, with three out of those six having no prior history of hypertension. The incidence of retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease of the lower limb are also much higher among diabetes patients suffering from uncontrolled blood pressure. These are the findings of a study of more than 3,000 patients of Type 2 diabetes conducted by Amrita Hospital, Kochi.
Said Dr. Aswathy S, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, who conducted the study: “After analyzing the data, we found that people over 60 years of age, those suffering from diabetes for more than 11 years and those who are obese or overweight were more at risk of uncontrolled blood pressure. Based on the conclusions of the study, it is very important that patients and healthcare professionals should be made aware of the need to monitor and control blood pressure, which can help in addressing diabetes-related complications such as peripheral neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease, and retinopathy. High blood pressure is also a traditional cardiovascular risk factor. Monitoring it can also yield rich dividends in terms of reducing cardiovascular events and mortality among adults with diabetes.”
He added: “The study was conducted in Ernakulam district to find the prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure among diabetes patients. The occurrence of high BP and diabetes hastens the development of complications in the small (micro) and large (macrovascular) blood vessels, leading to health conditions like retinopathy, neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease. Their combined effect can seriously affect the health status of the diabetic patients.”
In people with diabetes, coexisting hypertension can triple the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), double the total mortality and stroke risk, and can be responsible for up to 75% of all cardiovascular ailments.
Said Dr. Aswathy S: “India has more than 200 million individuals who are hypertensive. Hypertension often remains undiagnosed among people with diabetes, thereby delaying therapy. Bringing down BP has proven to be beneficial in reducing complications associated with diabetes including atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) events, heart failure, and microvascular complications. Among people with diabetes, anti-hypertensive therapy should be initiated when BP is ≥140/90 mmHg. The target BP should be maintained below 140/90 mmHg. However, the target levels of BP in diabetes patients are far from being achieved. This needs emphasis through patient and physician awareness, with the need for regular screening of BP among people with diabetes.”

The study has been published in the Feb 2022 issue of the journal “Frontiers in Public Health” and is available here.