Strategies for the Management of Hypertension in the Diabetic Patient

David H. Fitchett MD, FRCP(C), St Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

For the diabetic patient, hypertension more than doubles the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular death, and is central in the development of diabetic nephropathy. Control of hypertension is an important vascular protective measure. However, the thresholds and goals of antihypertensive treatment have fallen as trials have shown improved outcomes with blood pressures reduced to 120/80mmHg or less. Although reducing blood pressure to the lower target levels must be the primary goal of treatment, the use of diuretics and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors should be considered as first-line therapy in the diabetic patient. Both agents have been demonstrated to improve a wide range of cardiovascular outcomes compared to other antihypertensive medications.
Key words: diabetes, hypertension, nephropathy, blood pressure control.