Diabetes can increase your risk for many health conditions, including stroke.
People with diabetes are
If you have prediabetes, you already have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke than people without diabetes.
Diabetes affects the body’s ability to create insulin or use it properly. Since insulin plays an important role in pulling glucose into cells from the bloodstream, people with diabetes often have too much sugar in their blood.
If these deposits grow, they can cause a narrowing of the blood vessel wall or even a complete blockage. Any interruption to the blood supply in the brain will stop blood and oxygen from reaching brain cells.
This can lead to a stroke. Without rapid treatment, a stroke can result in permanent cell damage or death.
A stroke can also result if bleeding occurs in the brain.
The main types of stroke are:
Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. It occurs when an artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain is blocked, most often by a blood clot.
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. Around
The risk of severe complications or death is higher than with an ischemic stroke. People with diabetes have a
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
A TIA is sometimes called a ministroke because the blood flow to the brain is blocked for a shorter amount of time and doesn’t result in permanent neurological injury.
A TIA is a type of ischemic stroke. It may last from a minute to several hours — until the clogged artery reopens on its own.
People often refer to a TIA as a “warning stroke.” Around
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke is a crucial first step to getting help. Early help can lower the risk of severe complications.
Other symptoms that can signal a stroke include sudden:
- numbness or weakness of the face or the arms and legs, usually on one side
- trouble understanding speech
- difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
- a loss of balance or coordination
- trouble walking
- a severe headache for no known reason
If you think you’re experiencing a stroke, call 911 or your local emergency services immediately. A stroke is a life threatening condition.
If you think someone is having a stroke, take action FAST
To help people remember how to recognize a stroke, the American Stroke Association endorses the mnemonic FAST, which stands for:
- Face drooping
- Arm weakness
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 911 or your local emergency services
Treatment will depend on the type of stroke.
Treatment for an ischemic stroke includes:
- clot-busting drugs to reduce or remove the blockage
- drugs to thin the blood, such as aspirin
- treatment to prevent seizures, if necessary
- surgery, in some cases, to remove a blockage or insert a stent
- exercises and therapy to help restore any lost function, such as speech or movement
Treatment for a stroke that results from bleeding in the brain will involve:
- managing blood pressure, including raised blood pressure in the brain
- using coagulant drugs to slow the bleeding
- treatment for epilepsy, if seizures occur
- surgery, in some cases
- follow up nursing care and rehabilitation, as needed
There is no specific treatment for a TIA, but doctors will recommend measures to lower the risk of a stroke. This is essential because
- monitoring the person’s risk
- antiplatelet therapy or statins to reduce the risk of clotting
- diet and exercise
- measures to manage blood pressure
- surgery, in some cases
The risk factors for stroke include:
- high blood pressure
- atrial fibrillation
- blood coagulation problems
- high cholesterol
- sickle cell disease
- circulation problems
- carotid artery disease
- prior history of heart attacks, strokes, or TIA
- older age, although a stroke can happen at any age
- a family history of stroke
- being female
Many people with diabetes have another condition, such as obesity or cardiovascular problems. These further increase the risk.
Lifestyle risk factors include:
- poor diet and nutrition
- not getting enough physical activity
- any tobacco use or smoking
- excess alcohol use
The risk is also higher for Black and Hispanic Americans,
It’s not always possible to avoid a stroke, but some actions can help reduce the risk.
Here are some tips:
- Attend all appointments, and follow your treatment plan for diabetes management.
- Seek help for other stroke risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Quit or avoid smoking.
- Maintain a diabetes-friendly diet.
- Do regular exercise.
Try the following tips:
- Lower your intake of salt and fats.
- Eat more fish in place of red meat.
- Eat foods with lower amounts of added sugar.
- Eat more vegetables, beans, and nuts.
Examples of exercises that get your body moving are:
- a brisk, daily walk
Quit smoking, if you smoke
Limit how much alcohol you drink
If you drink alcohol, try to limit your intake to no more than
Take your medication as prescribed
Some medications help reduce the risk of a stroke.
- blood pressure medications
- diabetes medications
- cholesterol medications (statins)
- medications to prevent blood clots, such as aspirin and blood thinners
If a doctor prescribes these medications, be sure to take them as they recommend.
Factors affecting the outlook include:
- the type of stroke
- the extent of any damage
- which part of the brain is affected
- the taken before accessing treatment
- other health conditions the person has
- the type of rehabilitation you have as follow-up
People who can get to the emergency room within
If a person has a TIA, they may not have any adverse effects, although there’s a
An ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke can be life threatening. If the person survives, they may experience long-term problems with various functions, including:
- thinking and reasoning
- speech and language
Statistics suggest that in high-income countries, such as the United States, an ischemic stroke is fatal within 30 days in around
Around 25% to 30% of hemorrhagic strokes are fatal in high-income countries, such as the United States, but this figure can rise to
The complications of a hemorrhagic stroke include seizures and ongoing problems with the brain, lungs, and cardiovascular system.
Anyone who appears to be having a stroke needs immediate medical assistance. It’s essential to call 911 or seek emergency medical services as soon as possible.
Why does diabetes increase the risk of a stroke?
High blood sugar levels increase the chance of fatty deposits or clots developing in the blood vessels. These can block the flow of blood and prevent oxygen from reaching the brain.
People with diabetes also have a higher risk of small bleeds in the brain, which could lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.
What are the symptoms of a diabetic stroke?
The symptoms of a diabetic stroke are the same as for any stroke. They include problems with speech, a sudden and severe headache, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, confusion, dizziness, loss of balance, and vision problems.
Can low blood sugar cause symptoms like a stroke?
Hypoglycemia is when blood glucose levels are below
Symptoms include confusion, a loss of consciousness, and seizures. It can also cause paralysis and speech problems. These symptoms can resemble those of a stroke.
People with diabetes have a higher risk of a stroke than those without. Also, they’re more likely to have a stroke at a younger age, and the outcome may be more severe.
If you have diabetes, one way of lowering your risk of a stroke is to follow any treatment plan for managing blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes can also take the same steps as those without diabetes, such as avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and getting regular exercise.