Researchers have found that aggressively decreasing a diabetic’s blood pressure could be the answer to saving their life.
Scientists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Utah, Loyola University Medical School, and Columbia University Medical Center have found that significantly lowering blood pressure could even prevent more than 100,000 deaths a year in the United States.
“The public health impact of adopting intensive treatment in the right patients is enormous,” said Adam Bress, assistant professor of population health sciences at the University of Utah and co-author of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) study.
According to Health Canal, the researchers found that decreasing blood pressure to less than 120 mmHg reduced heart attack, stroke, and death in diabetic individuals that were high risk of the dangers.
“The lifetime risk of high blood pressure in the US is about 80 percent,” said Richard Cooper, professor and chairman of Public Health Sciences at Loyola University Medical School and study’s senior author. “Optimal management is one of the most significant contributions of medical care to patient survival. So we need to understand that small improvements in individual management can make a major impact on people’s health.”
Another new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people with Type 2 diabetes had a much easier time controlling their weight and sugar levels when they soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week.
In Alabama, home to six of the 10 most diabetic counties in the U.S., Mobile has the highest rate of diabetes in the entire nation.
According to AL.com, a Gallup-Healthways report states that Mobile had the highest rate of diabetes last year out of 200 U.S. communities. Alabama also had the highest diabetes rate statewide across the country at 16.1%, compared to Utah, the lowest diabetes rate in the country, at 7.4%.
Mobile’s high diabetes rate sits at 17.7%.
Bress, Cooper, and other researchers are hoping that their new study can help improve struggling diabetic communities like those in Alabama but are fully aware there is much more work to be done.
“What I fear is that if it takes 10 years to implement, we would not fully realize the potential public health gains,” added Bress. “Within that time we could greatly reduce the number of deaths from high blood pressure.”