Saturday, 25 May 2019

Study: Controlling high blood pressure in diabetics may prevent organ damage

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Irina Benenson, assistant professor, Rutgers School of Nursing.

Irina Benenson, assistant professor, Rutgers School of Nursing. – ()

A new study out of Rutgers University suggests extremely high blood pressure, not diabetes alone, is responsible for severe organ damage due to hypertensive emergencies in African-Americans with diabetes.

In a statement, Rutgers said that the most effective way to prevent life-threatening complications of extreme hypertension in African-Americans with diabetes is to better control blood pressure.

The study, published in the October issue of the journal Clinical and Experimental Hypertension, included 783 diabetic and 1,001 nondiabetic patients from a New Jersey hospital emergency department that serves predominantly African-American communities.

According to Rutgers, it is the first study to look at the risk factors and prevalence for hypertensive emergencies, or drastic increases in blood pressure, in diabetic African-Americans, a population disproportionally affected by complications of high blood pressure. 

“Our study found that both diabetics and nondiabetics with hypertensive emergencies had similar rates of severe injury to target organs.” Irina Benenson, a Rutgers School of Nursing assistant professor, said in a statement. “Combined with the fact that diabetics with hypertensive emergency also had significantly higher levels of blood pressure, this suggests that the occurrence of severe damage to vital organs is not because of just diabetes but because of the accompanying severely elevated blood pressure.”

Benenson added that hypertensive emergencies are associated with life-threatening damage to the brain, heart and kidneys. An estimated 1 percent to 2 percent of people with high blood pressure will have a hypertensive emergency during their lives, and the likelihood is even higher among people with diabetes.

The risk of hypertensive emergencies in diabetic African-Americans was significantly higher in those with cardiovascular conditions, kidney disease and anemia. Having medical insurance and access to a health care provider did not lessen complications of severely elevated blood pressure, said Benenson.


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