Does Insulin Therapy Have a Hypertensive Effect in Type 2 Diabetes?

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Summary:In this prospective study, the 24-h blood-pressure profile of 12 patients with type 2 diabetes was monitored before, at 6, and at 12 weeks after initiation of insulin therapy, to determine whether commencement of insulin therapy increases blood pressure in these patients. Insulin dosage adjustment was carried out by using a predetermined algorithm according to body weight and degree of hyperglycemia. The mean insulin dosage at 12 weeks was 72.9 ± 3.9 units/day. This was associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure from 134.6 ± 4.3 mm Hg to 144.8 ± 4.5 mm Hg (p = 0.0001), diastolic blood pressure from 71.9 ± 2.6 mm Hg to 74.9 ± 2.2 mm Hg (p = 0.0001), and body mass index (BMI) from 27.2 ± 0.8 kg/m2 to 29.6 ± 0.8 kg/m2 (p = 0.0001). Multiple regression analysis showed insulin dosage to be a significant independent factor (p = 0.0003) accounting for 63% of the variance in blood pressure change after adjusting for age, diastolic blood pressure, and base HbA1c. We conclude that insulin therapy may have a deleterious effect on blood pressure in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, in the clinical setting, it is difficult to isolate this from the confounding effect of weight gain.

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