Diabetes mellitus and hypertension are both prevalent in the adult population. The development of hypertension in the diabetic patient is likely to increase the morbidity and mortality in a subgroup already at high risk for atherosclerosis and deserves special consideration. Several studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of antihypertensive therapy on complications such as diabetic nephropathy. This emphasizes the importance of normalizing blood pressure in the diabetic population. It has been suggested that the threshold for initiating antihypertensive therapy should be lower in diabetic patients. All antihypertensive agents have potential disadvantages in patients with diabetes. The commonly encountered effects include deterioration of diabetic control, sexual dysfunction, electrolyte imbalance, and lipid disorders. The adverse effects of these agents on serum lipids have been implicated in the lessthan-expected reduction in coronary heart disease noted in some studies. The recent Lipid Research Council study has emphasized the importance of elevated lipid levels and increased cardiovascular mortality. Antihypertensive therapy has advanced rapidly in the last 5 yr. The special problems in the treatment of hypertension within the diabetic population are now receiving greater attention. Undesirable biochemical side effects of drugs used to treat hypertension have become publicized, and the long-term consequences of these abnormalities are under critical scrutiny. The new antihypertensive medications offer exciting alternative approaches to the more traditional agents with less chance of significant metabolic side effects.

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