Half of diabetes patients failing to meet blood pressure target

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Half of diabetes patients failing to meet blood pressure target

12th April 2012

An expert in medical negligence claims has said more needs to be done to reduce blood pressure levels amongst those with diabetes in order to combat record rates of kidney failure and stroke.

Jacqui Hayat, head of the London medical negligence department at Fentons Solicitors LLP, was speaking after figures released by leading charity, Diabetes UK revealed that half of diabetic patients are risking potentially serious complications by failing to properly monitor their blood pressure.

“High blood pressure increases the risk of diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, kidney failure and stroke,” said Jacqui, a partner with the firm. “People with diabetes need to be especially aware that high blood pressure can have a hugely damaging effect on their health and by not monitoring their blood pressure, they are putting themselves at risk of dying years younger than the rest of the population.”

Diabetes UK said the figures - which were collected in 2009/10 from the National Diabetes audit, encompassing more than two million patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes across England - revealed that just over 50 per cent of diabetics are failing to meet their blood pressure target, a proportion almost exactly the same as the previous year.

“Given the link between high blood pressure and numerous diabetes-related complications, these numbers are extremely worrying,” said Jacqui. “We need to do our utmost to ensure high blood pressure does not become the norm amongst those with diabetes as this is one of the main reasons we are currently seeing record levels of kidney failure and stroke amongst such patients.”

People with diabetes should strive to keep their blood pressure below 130/80, slightly lower than the 140/85 target for the rest of the population. A recent Diabetes UK survey revealed that 91 per cent of diabetic patients - of whom there are 2.9 million in the UK - receive an annual blood pressure check. However, there is concern that not enough is being done to help patients once high blood pressure has been diagnosed.

“It is vital that awareness of this issue is raised so that those with diabetes understand the importance of monitoring their blood pressure,” said Jacqui. “There are numerous ways blood pressure can be improved and it is critical diabetic patients with high blood pressure adopt changes to their lifestyle such as stopping smoking, reducing salt and alcohol intake, doing regular physical exercise and following a balanced and healthy diet.

“It is equally important healthcare professionals understand that diagnosing high blood pressure is only the beginning of the process and they must work to ensure diabetic patients with high blood pressure are given the advice, treatment and support they need to manage their condition and bring their blood pressure down to acceptable levels.”

How can Fentons help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to medical negligence.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claim questionnaire.

Read more: BBC