Does Gestational Diabetes Cause High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure /hypertension in diabetes (including for gestational diabetes ‘GD’) is pretty common. In pregnancy, the presence of hypertension should be concerned as well. If left untreated, this can be potential to cause a condition called preeclampsia or even eclampsia (a potentially life-threatening condition). If you are diagnosed with GD during pregnancy, does it also contribute to cause high blood pressure – what else you need to know?

Blood pressure – what actually is it?

To pump blood around the body, your heart needs an appropriate pressure. Blood pressure itself can be defined as the pressure of blood against the walls of blood vessels as your heart pump the blood around the body.

When your heart is beating (contracting), it pumps the blood through blood vessels and this can increase the blood pressure. This mechanism is known as systolic pressure. After beating, your heart then relaxes then your blood pressure decreases (between your heart’s beats) – this mechanism is called as diastolic pressure. For in-depth information about how your blood pressure increases, visit this section!

If you check your blood pressure by a blood pressure monitor (sphygmometer), you will get two different numbers of the test result. The higher number points to your systolic pressure, and the lower number points to your diastolic pressure. For instance, if your test result shows 120 /70 mm Hg, 120 mm Hg is for your systolic pressure and 70 mm Hg is your diastolic pressure.

If there is high blood pressure, this can make your heart difficult in pumping the blood. Over time, this condition can put you at high risk of having nerve damage, kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and even eye disease.

The link between gestational diabetes and high blood pressure!

Gestational diabetes (GD) may have contribution to cause high blood pressure problem (hypertension)! In fact, hypertension and GD are often found together – particularly in pregnant women who have poor control on their gestational diabetes.

Over time, the high accumulation of glucose in the blood can be potential to cause narrowing and hardening arteries such as atherosclerosis. Narrowing arteries means that the blood cannot flow optimally.

Overall, the cause hypertension in pregnancy can vary from woman to woman. If you have chronic hypertension before getting pregnant, your gestational hypertension is more likely to be associated with it.

gestational_diabetes_and_hypertension_illustrationBut if you are a healthy individual and don’t have hypertension before getting pregnant, other factors such as GD may have contribution in causing the problem. However, don’t take a conclusion on your own. Consult with your doctor if you in doubt with your condition!

Furthermore, the pregnancy itself can have an effect in the fluctuation of blood pressure. And in fact, there are also lots of factors that can be potential to trigger your blood pressure rise during pregnancy. These may include stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, lack of physical activity, etc. See also how hypertension triggered by stress can occur in pregnancy on this section!

The risk of preeclampsia due to uncontrolled gestational diabetes

While the link between GD and hypertension may be still debatable but experts believe that having GD during pregnancy can increase your risk of developing preeclampsia.

But as long as you control your GD as well, you can reduce this risk! Most pregnant women with preeclampsia can cope with the problem and get a successful pregnancy.

Typically, preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure with other unusual symptoms (particularly such as excessively protein found in the urine). If you experience these following preeclampsia symptoms, see your doctor promptly: