MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Waiting up to a year to treat high blood pressure in a person with diabetes is probably not harmful, but waiting many years to get blood pressure under control could result in serious complications, new research indicates.
In the study, published online Jan. 9 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Chicago suggested that the one-year delay could give patients time to make certain lifestyle changes that could help correct the problem, such as limiting their salt intake, exercising or losing weight.
The study also suggests that delays in lowering blood pressure among patients with diabetes are not uncommon. Some patients may not have access to health care, while others may not follow through on their treatment, they explained.
Still, other experts were cautious, noting that prompt control of blood pressure with medications can prevent serious cardiovascular trouble.
In the study, a team led by Dr. Neda Laiteerapong used a simulated model with a theoretical population of adults in their 50s newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found that a lifetime of uncontrolled blood pressure increased complications significantly, or by 1,855 events per 10,000 patients. It also reduced their life expectancy by almost one year.
In contrast, a one-year delay in controlling blood pressure resulted in only a minor increase in the number of complications and reduced life expectancy by only two days.
However, waiting very long before treatment wasn't advised. The study authors found that 10 years or more of delays in the treatment of high blood pressure could lead to serious health problems, including greater risk for stroke and heart attack.
"Among middle-aged adults with diabetes, the harms of a one-year delay in managing blood pressure may be small. Health care providers may wish to focus on diabetes man
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