Having high blood pressure raises your risk of developing diabetes by 60 per cent, a major global study has confirmed.
Although a well-known risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the links between high blood pressure and diabetes had been less certain. Now a team of researchers have confirmed the connection following a trawl through more than four million patient records.
The study does not show that high blood pressure causes diabetes, but the researchers said that conclusive evidence of the link between the two was a possible “game-changer” which could lead to better treatment.
High blood pressure is often linked to obesity, which is one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Professor Kazem Rahimi, deputy director of the George Institute for Global Health, who led the research, said people with diabetes were also more likely to suffer from heart attacks, stroke and heart failure.
“Confirming this connection reliably provides new hope for those people and new avenues for research,” he said.
“Understanding the link will help us better communicate risks to patients and can provide another motivation for patients and doctors to aim for tight blood pressure control.”
The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
High blood pressure can be prevented by eating healthily, watching our weight, getting exercise, not drinking too much alcohol and not smoking.
Rates of diabetes in the UK have soared by nearly 60 per cent in the past decade, according to the charity Diabetes UK and treating the condition and its many potential complications costs the NHS an estimated £10bn a year. The increase is thought to be a consequence of growing rates of overweight and obesity.
More than three million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes, the most common form. Public Health England estimates that another five million are ‘pre-diabetic’ – meaning they are at high risk of developing the condition, which occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to break down glucose, causing blood sugar to become too high.
Dr Richard Elliott, Diabetes UK research communications manager, said, “We already know that you are more at risk of type 2 diabetes if you have ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack or a stroke.
“The results of this large study reinforce this link. We know that the best way to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy balanced diet and taking part in regular physical activity.”Reuse content