Double Trouble - Why Diabetes and Hypertension Often Coexist

In diabetes, the body has trouble using insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use sugar for energy. When there is too much sugar in the blood, the pancreas makes more insulin to try to lower the sugar levels. But in diabetes, the body's cells don't respond well to insulin, so the sugar levels stay high. This causes the pancreas to make even more insulin, which can lead to high insulin levels in the blood, also called hyperinsulinemia.

Hyperinsulinemia is a condition characterized by elevated levels of insulin in the blood. When insulin levels are too high, it can lead to a number of health problems, including hypertension. Insulin has many effects in the body apart from just lowering your blood sugar. The problem is that many people are prescribed insulin to treat diabetes. This adds fuel to the fire and makes the problem even worse!

One of the ways higher insulin levels can contribute to hypertension is by increasing blood vessel constriction, which raises blood pressure. Insulin can also increase the production of aldosterone, a hormone that regulates salt and water balance in the body. When aldosterone levels are too high, it increases blood volume and blood pressure.

Another way higher insulin levels can contribute to hypertension is by promoting weight gain, which can increase the risk of hypertension. Insulin resistance, a condition where the body's cells don't respond properly to insulin, also plays a role in hypertension. Insulin resistance can increase fat storage, particularly around the abdominal area, which is associated with an increased risk of hypertension.

In addition, hyperinsulinemia can also increase the risk of hypertension by promoting inflammation in the body. Inflammation can cause blood vessels to constrict, which raises blood pressure.

Therefore, if you are taking medications for diabetes, chances are many of them are driving your body’s insulin higher and higher, likely worsening your blood pressure and resulting in higher doses and additional medications to control your blood pressure.

This is where lifestyle changes, such as switching to a lower carbohydrate diet and exercise, can have a massive improvement in your health. They help drive down insulin, improving blood sugar and blood pressure and reducing the need for medication. 

This is why it is essential to work with a physician to identify and address the underlying causes of chronic illnesses such as hypertension and hyperinsulinemia.

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Bilal Mannan

Internal Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Obesity and Metabolic Medicine

Dr. Bilal Mannan, is a board-certified internal medicine physician specializing in metabolic health and obesity medicine, devoted to administering quality care. With a unique focus on metabolic health and obesity medicine, Dr. Mannan is deeply passionate about prevention, nutrition and human metabolism, areas which he believes form the cornerstone of overall wellness.

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