Various expert groups have produced guidelines regarding how low the blood pressure target should be when a person is treated for hypertension. These groups recommend a target below the range 140–160 / 90–100 mmHg for the general population.[13][99][100][101][102] Cochrane reviews recommend similar targets for subgroups such as people with diabetes[103] and people with prior cardiovascular disease.[104]

If the amount of insulin available is insufficient, or if cells respond poorly to the effects of insulin (insulin insensitivity or insulin resistance), or if the insulin itself is defective, then glucose will not be absorbed properly by the body cells that require it, and it will not be stored appropriately in the liver and muscles. The net effect is persistently high levels of blood glucose, poor protein synthesis, and other metabolic derangements, such as acidosis.[60]

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic risk factors that come together in a single individual. These metabolic factors include insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), cholesterol abnormalities, and an increased risk for blood clotting. Affected individuals are most often overweight or obese. An association between certain metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease has been known since the 1940s.


"Brittle" diabetes, also known as unstable diabetes or labile diabetes, is a term that was traditionally used to describe the dramatic and recurrent swings in glucose levels, often occurring for no apparent reason in insulin-dependent diabetes. This term, however, has no biologic basis and should not be used.[39] Still, type 1 diabetes can be accompanied by irregular and unpredictable high blood sugar levels, frequently with ketosis, and sometimes with serious low blood sugar levels. Other complications include an impaired counterregulatory response to low blood sugar, infection, gastroparesis (which leads to erratic absorption of dietary carbohydrates), and endocrinopathies (e.g., Addison's disease).[39] These phenomena are believed to occur no more frequently than in 1% to 2% of persons with type 1 diabetes.[40]

Another common endocrine cause is oral contraceptive use. Activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is the likely mechanism, because hepatic synthesis of angiotensinogen is induced by the estrogen component of oral contraceptives. Approximately 5% of women taking oral contraceptives may develop hypertension, which abates within 6 months after discontinuation. The risk factors for oral contraceptive–associated hypertension include mild renal disease, familial history of essential hypertension, age older than 35 years, and obesity. It would be better to group oral contraceptives and steroids with drug-induced hypertension (see Table 1, below).

"Secondary" diabetes refers to elevated blood sugar levels from another medical condition. Secondary diabetes may develop when the pancreatic tissue responsible for the production of insulin is destroyed by disease, such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas by toxins like excessive alcohol), trauma, or surgical removal of the pancreas.
Arachidonic acid (with its precursor – linoleic acid) serve as a substrate to the production of inflammatory mediators known as eicosanoids, whereas the arachidonic acid-containing compound diacylglycerol (DAG) is a precursor to the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) while fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) mediates the metabolism of anandamide into arachidonic acid.[37][35] Anandamide can also be produced from N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine via several pathways.[35] Anandamide and 2-AG can also be hydrolized into arachidonic acid, potentially leading to increased eicosanoid synthesis.[35] Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for neurological disorders.[38] Metabolomic studies suggest an excess of organic acids, impaired lipid oxidation byproducts, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids in the blood serum of affected patients.
The goal of treating metabolic syndrome is to prevent the development of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Your doctor will first suggest lifestyle modifications such as exercising for 30 minutes most days of the week. One study showed that individuals who are physically active (30 minutes of activity at least once per week) have half the risk of developing metabolic syndrome than those who are inactive. Your doctor may also suggest eating a healthy diet to promote weight loss and normal blood cholesterol and fat levels.
The AHA/ASA recommends a diet that is low in sodium, is high in potassium, and promotes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products for reducing BP and lowering the risk of stroke. Other recommendations include increasing physical activity (30 minutes or more of moderate intensity activity on a daily basis) and losing weight (for overweight and obese persons).
As you lose weight your leptin levels drop, signalling to your body that it should probably start to slow things down. In this case you can feel hungry all of the time, but also sluggish and weight loss stops. Some people even see weight gain which can either send you into frustration nation… or alternatively lead you to cut more calories and drive your metabolic rate and gut hormone signalling down even further! Yikes!
Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter -- and allow you to use the glucose for energy.  Without insulin, there is no “key.”   So, the sugar stays -- and builds up-- in the blood. The result: the body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.  And, if left untreated, the high level of “blood sugar” can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the heart, and can also lead to coma and death. 
(As a side note, one tricky thing we are coming to find with leptin is that many obese people have very high circulating levels of leptin but some how their body still doesn’t listen to the signal. They are leptin resistant. This means that your metabolism slows and your hunger gets jacked up… even though you have plenty of fat stores on your body! Talk about frustrating… but solvable!)

The primary problem in metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance. In the body's attempt to compensate for insulin resistance, extra insulin is produced, leading to elevated insulin levels. The elevated insulin levels can lead, directly or indirectly, to the characteristic metabolic abnormalities seen in these patients. Frequently, the insulin resistance will progress to overt type 2 diabetes, which further increases the risk of cardiovascular complications.


Potassium – as part of the electrolyte panel, which also includes sodium, chloride, and carbon dioxide (CO2); to evaluate and monitor the balance of the body's electrolytes. For example, low potassium can be seen in Cushing syndrome and Conn syndrome, two causes of secondary hypertension. Some high blood pressure medications can upset electrolyte balance by causing excessive loss of potassium or potassium retention.
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Investigations into the pathophysiology of hypertension, both in animals and humans, have revealed that hypertension may have an immunological basis. Studies have revealed that hypertension is associated with renal infiltration of immune cells and that pharmacologic immunosuppression (such as with the drug mycophenolate mofetil) or pathologic immunosuppression (such as occurs with HIV) results in reduced blood pressure in animals and humans. Evidence suggests that T lymphocytes and T-cell derived cytokines (eg, interleukin 17, tumor necrosis factor alpha) play an important role in hypertension. [14, 15]
Anteroposterior x-ray from a 28-year old woman who presented with congestive heart failure secondary to her chronic hypertension, or high blood pressure. The enlarged cardiac silhouette on this image is due to congestive heart failure due to the effects of chronic high blood pressure on the left ventricle. The heart then becomes enlarged, and fluid accumulates in the lungs, known as pulmonary congestion.

Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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