Legendary duos: Romeo and Juliet. The beach and sand. Cake and ice cream.

You can’t make a list of life’s most legendary duos without hypertension and diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 73 percent of people in the U.S. who have diabetes also have hypertension. Although they’re often found together, the good news is that both are manageable and may even be completely reversible when you take some small steps.

Breaking up a bad combo!

How did diabetes and hypertension become such fast friends? Over time, diabetes can cause inflammation and damage to small blood vessels and kidneys. These changes contribute to high blood pressure. So, let’s get to know these BFFs a little bit better.

Diabetes stops your body from making enough insulin or using it as well as it should, resulting in too much sugar in your bloodstream. Over time, diabetes also sets you up for kidney failure and heart disease. A person is considered diabetic when their A1C level is 6.5% or higher.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, makes your heart work harder to pump blood through your body. Left unchecked, it can cause strokes, as well as kidney and heart disease. High blood pressure is a consistent reading of 140/90 or higher. Start to fight back by scheduling a checkup with your doctor. With a physical exam, your doctor will be able to assess your health and let you know about any tests you should have. This will provide the basis for your plan of action—if you need it.

Approximately 73% of the 34 million people in the U.S. with diabetes also have hypertension.

The one-two punch: Healthy eating and movement!

Making changes to your lifestyle is easier to achieve if you start small. Start with healthy swaps you can make in your food choices and add a 10-minute walk to your activity today. Weight loss is a superhero when fighting this bad combo. Eating healthier food and adding more movement to your day can dramatically affect your health. And remember: Every little change you make counts.

We can help! Check out this wellness workshop on nutrition and diabetes.

Stay active doing what you love!

Many basic activities can be aerobically effective when the intensity and frequency are increased.