Women who have high blood pressure are up to a three times greater risk for developing diabetes type 2 than those with optimal blood pressure. These are the findings of a study published in the European Heart Journal.
The study followed the health of 38,000 women over a period of ten years. The women fell into one of four groups according to their blood pressure levels at the start of the study.
Optimal BP: below 120 systolic, 75 diastolic
Normal BP: 120-129 systolic, 75-84 diastolic
High Normal BP: 130-139 systolic, 85-89 diastolic
High BP: 140 and over systolic, over 90 diastolic
At the end of the ten year follow-up, and adjusting for lifestyle factors such as exercise, BMI, ethnicity, smoking and alcohol intake, the researchers found that women with hypertension had a three fold higher risk of developing diabetes. Obesity was found to be a separate risk for diabetes, and women in all weight categories were equally at risk for diabetes if they had blood pressure in the highest category. Women whose blood pressure rose during the study, but stayed in the high normal range had an increased risk of 26% compared to 64% for those who had progressed to hypertension.