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What is hypertension?

Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the amount of pressure forced on the walls of our arteries. Too much pressure can be hard on our heart and cause damage to our arteries.

What are my targets?

For most people living with diabetes, the blood pressure target is 130/80 mmHg or less.

Do I need medication?

Your doctor may recommend medication to help control your blood pressure if you are at high risk or if you are not meeting the blood pressure target. Many people with diabetes take blood pressure medications even though their blood pressure is meeting the target. This is because these medications can also be helpful in protecting the kidneys from diabetes complications.

What else can I do?

1) Follow a diet in line with the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). This includes:

  • Eating lots of vegetables! Try to choose either fresh or frozen. Canned vegetables may have extra sodium added, so choose “sodium-free”, “low sodium”, “reduced sodium” or “no added salt” if purchasing.

  • Choosing whole grains such as whole-grain breads and pastas, brown rice, bulgur or barley instead of white breads and pastas, short grain white or instant rice.

  • Choosing more lean meats such as chicken, fish, turkey or vegetarian sources of protein such as beans, lentils and tofu instead of red meats and processed meats.

  • Reduce your salt(sodium) intake by eating less prepared foods, such as frozen meals, canned soups and restaurant foods. Avoid adding salt to your food in cooking or at the table.

2) Include plenty of physical activity. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise. Some tips:

  • Start small! Exercise can be completed in bouts of just 10 minutes at a time to have a benefit.

  • Think simple! Walking is free, requires no equipment and can be done outdoors or indoors.

  • Set a goal or schedule to keep yourself accountable and on track. You can use a fitness tracker, write it in a note on your phone or on paper.

3) Limit alcohol to no more than 1-2 beverages per day.


4) Manage stress by including:

  • Yoga or stretching

  • Meditation or deep breathing

  • Hobbies or enjoyable activities such as puzzles, reading, warm bath, etc.

  • Talking to your friends, family, or counselor

5) Quit smoking if you do. Here is a good place to start: Click Here

References and further reading: