Blood pressure not linked to better diabetes outcomes

Doctors commonly tell their type 2 diabetes patients to closely monitor their blood pressure, as it is believed that elevated pressure may add to the workload of the heart, which may lead to poorer treatment outcomes.

However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that blood pressure may not play as large a role as was previously thought in reducing heart risk among patients with both diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD).

Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff and a team of researchers from the University of Florida analyzed the results of a previous study that collected information blood pressure readings from 6,400 diabetics who also had CAD. The results showed that individuals who had the best control over blood pressure (lower than 130 mm Hg) did not experience a reduced cardiovascular risk.

Individuals who had the highest blood pressure were found to be more likely to die during the study period, but researchers attributed this to the increase in heart risk the general population experiences from high blood pressure.

"At this time, there is no compelling evidence to indicate that lowering [blood pressure] is beneficial for patients with diabetes," Cooper-DeHoff said. "Thus, emphasis should be placed on maintaining weight loss, healthful eating, and other manifestations of cardiovascular morbidity."
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