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The Link Between Diabetes, Hypertension And Cardiovascular Disease

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza · Updated Dec 22, 2022

The Link Between Diabetes, Hypertension And Cardiovascular Disease

What’s the link between diabetes,  hypertension and heart disease? Cardiovascular disease is a serious disease that everyone may be at risk of if they do not have a healthy diet and lifestyle. Already potentially life threatening on its own, cardiovascular disease has a close relationship with diabetes and hypertension, which can further complicate the condition and increase the risks to your health. The inter-linked relationship of one to the other puts focus on the proper treatment and management of all three. Here’s what you need to know about how hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are linked.

Diabetes and Heart Disease

Diabetes is a condition that happens when the body is unable to properly utilize a hormone called insulin, which controls the blood sugar levels in our body. Hence when you have diabetes, your blood sugar level is at all time high. If this condition continues over a long period, it will cause fat metabolism disorders, clotting disorders, and atherosclerosis. 

Individuals with diabetes are at high risk of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke. In fact, more than 75% of diabetic patients are hospitalized for cardiovascular complications and coronary artery stenosis. Interestingly, over 65% of diabetics die from cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, or heart failure

Overall, the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes is two to four times higher than people who do not have diabetes. Additionally, patients with diabetes also has two to four times increased risk of suffering from stroke.

For this reason, those with diabetes need to pay special attention to cardiovascular disease. Management of blood sugar levels is particularly important to prevent the development of heart disease.

Diabetes and Hypertension

Now, what’s the link between diabetes and hypertension? Statistics show that many of the patients who have diabetes also have hypertension (commonly known as high blood pressure). This is because uncontrolled blood sugar level increases blood viscosity (thickness of blood). High blood viscosity accompanied by the contraction of blood vessels and the formation of atherosclerotic clots can block the path of the blood. This obstructs the movement of blood in the vascular system, causing pressure on the walls of blood vessels and the heart, which causes of hypertension.

Blood viscosity is not the only problem. In regards to hypertension, patients with diabetes usually have unhealthy amounts of blood cholesterol. They often have reduced HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol” which can be beneficial to health) and increased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol” which has harmful effects to the body). Together, these two factors increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. 

Hypertension is a serious complication of diabetes. Its complications, among that of diabetes, are part of the root causes of sudden death in people with diabetes.

Hypertension, whether or not it is caused by diabetes,  is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. But when individuals have both diabetes and hypertension — a common combination — the risk for cardiovascular disease doubles.

Hypertension causes damage to organs such as the brain, kidneys, eyes and even the heart over time. It leads to nearly 80% of cases of heart attack and stroke. What’s more, hypertension can increase the heart’s workload, causing thickening of the heart muscle fibers over time.

Those with hypertension are also prone to diseases such as ischemic heart disease, arrhythmias, or even an aneurysm.

Key Takeaways

What’s the link between diabetes, hypertension and heart disease? The close relationship between diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases is clear. To prevent the risks posed by these dangerous diseases, proper treatment and a healthy lifestyle are a must. Consult your doctor, keep up-to-date with the latest developments in medical science, adjust your diet, and exercise regularly.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Moderate-to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity twice a week is also ideal.

Work with your doctor to make sure your blood sugar is within normal range. Have a healthy diet, monitor your blood sugar regularly, and take the medications prescribed by your doctor.

Learn more about Diabetes here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza · Updated Dec 22, 2022

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