Objective: To review the pathophysiology of hypertension and complications in patients with diabetes mellitus, specifically focusing on diabetic nephropathy; to evaluate the current clinical literature regarding the appropriate management of hypertension in this patient group; and to offer treatment recommendations.
Data sources: A MEDLINE search of applicable English-language clinical studies, abstracts, and review articles pertaining to hypertension, diabetes, and diabetic nephropathy.
Study selection: Relevant studies on humans, examining hypertension, diabetes, and diabetic nephropathy, and the effects of drug therapy on these interrelated disease states.
Data synthesis: Pathophysiology of hypertension in the patient with diabetes mellitus and the pathophysiology of diabetic nephropathy are discussed. Studies evaluating the therapeutic effect of certain antihypertensive agents, their effect on glucose control and insulin sensitivity, and the progression of diabetic nephropathy are reviewed. Recommendations on the treatment of the patient with diabetes and hypertension are given.
Conclusions: The treatment of the patient with diabetes mellitus and hypertension remains complex. Interventions in this patient population should not only decrease blood pressure, but also reduce the risk of both vascular and nonvascular complications. Data support the theory that by controlling a patient's hypertension, the incidence of albuminuria and the progression of diabetic nephropathy are slowed. Additionally, data are available to support the use of pharmacologic interventions in nonhypertensive patients with diabetes and proteinuria. Drug therapies that have produced reductions in proteinuria in this patient population include angiotension-converting enzyme inhibitors and nondihydropyridine calcium-channel antagonists. Additional information is needed to better differentiate the individual agents within each of the antihypertensive drug classes regarding their individual effects on the patient with diabetes and hypertension, specifically effects on diabetic nephropathy and its progression to endstage renal disease.