Study: Taking blood pressure meds before bed lowers diabetes risk

By Stephen Feller

VIGO, Spain, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Two studies conducted at the University of Vigo in Spain found taking medication for hypertension before bed, rather than after waking up in the morning, can significantly reduce the chance of developing diabetes.

More than 1 in 3 Americans has hypertension, or blood pressure that is higher than normal but not high enough to qualify as high blood pressure, according to the CDC. In addition to diabetes, the condition can lead to heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure and kidney disease.


"Changing the time of ingestion of hypertension medications, a zero-cost intervention, has been shown to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and, in keeping with the new findings reported in Diabetologia, also significantly reduces the risk of developing diabetes," Dr. Ramon Hermida, director of the bioengineering and chronobiology laboratories at the University of Vigo, told Endocrine Today. "The results from this randomized clinical trial indicate a significant 57% decrease in the risk of developing diabetes in the bedtime compared to the awakening treatment regimen."

The two studies looked at different facets of the same question: Is lowering blood pressure more effective at preventing diabetes when patients are asleep or awake?


In the first study, published in Diabetologia, researchers sought to find whether the risk for diabetes was better indicated by blood pressure while awake or asleep.

The researchers recruited 1,292 men and 1,364 women between the ages of 36 and 65, none of whom had diabetes and whose blood pressure was somewhere between normotension and hypertension. During a six-year follow-up period, 190 of the participants developed type 2 diabetes.

When adjusted for age, waist circumference, glucose, chronic kidney disease, and hypertension treatment the researchers found sleeping blood pressure was the most significant predictor of diabetes risk, while waking blood pressure was found to have no predictive value.

The second study, also published in Diabetologia, randomized 2,012 participants -- 976 men and 1,036 women with a similar age range as the first study -- into groups that took all of their blood pressure medications either when they woke up in the morning or at night before going to bed.

During the six-year follow-up period, 171 participants in the study developed type 2 diabetes. Researchers found, when accounting for age, waist circumference, glucose, chronic kidney disease and specific treatment, that taking the medications at night resulted in a 57 percent decrease in the risk of developing diabetes.


"Lowering asleep blood pressure, a novel therapeutic target requiring blood pressure evaluation, could be a significant method for reducing new-onset diabetes risk," the researchers wrote.

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