Pills taken by millions of Brits to lower blood pressure 'could prevent diabetes'

BLOOD pressure pills could help prevent type-2 diabetes – and possibly stave off a looming national crisis, a study has found.

Scientists at Oxford and Bristol universities discovered the drugs, usually prescribed to prevent heart attacks and strokes, reduced patients’ risk of developing the condition by 11 per cent.

It’s the first time a treatment has been proven to significantly prevent type-2 diabetes, with numbers of sufferers set to nearly quadruple by 2035.

Prof Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Diabetes and high blood pressure are growing problems which can lead to serious health complications.

“This research shows that the two are inter-connected and that lowering blood pressure could be a powerful way to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.”

The research, funded by the BHF, is published today in The Lancet.

Projections show that the growing number of people with diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 extra heart attacks and 50,000 strokes by 2035.

The condition is suffered by 5million Brits, with a further 13.6million at risk. In May, Diabetes UK said cases had hit an all-time high, and that diagnoses have doubled in the last 15 years.

One in three people who died in England during the first wave of the pandemic had diabetes.

Lowering blood pressure can help prevent the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.

Experts have however warned that the study did not look at any effects of lowering blood pressure on people who already have type 2 diabetes.

Prof Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, The Open University, said that it's worth noting that there are other potential ways to reduce blood pressure than taking drugs, such as various lifestyle changes.

The NHS states that to lower blood pressure you should cut down on salt and eat a low fat balanced diet.

Other measure to reduce blood pressure include being active and cutting down on the amount of alcohol you consume.

Losing weight, drinking less caffeine and stopping smoking will also help.

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