Are people with diabetes at increased risk for stroke?

People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as people without diabetes. A stroke happens when the blood supply to part of your brain is suddenly interrupted. Then brain tissue is damaged. Most strokes happen because a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain or neck. A stroke can cause movement problems, pain, numbness, and problems with thinking, remembering, or speaking. Some people also have emotional problems, such as depression, after a stroke.

In controlling your diabetes, you can prevent a heart attack or stroke. Here are some steps to prevent a heart attack or stroke if you have diabetes:

  • Limit all of your risk factors and maintaining an optimal HgA1C, meaning lowering your blood sugar, by decreasing the number of calories and the amount of starches you consume.
  • Choose your calories wisely and do not choose foods that are high on the glycemic index (i.e., foods that will raise your blood sugar like fruit juice, alcohol, dates and white flour, just to name a few).
  • Exercise. Aerobic exercise burns blood sugar and lowers triglycerides.
  • Manage stress. If you are under a lot of stress, you will produce cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that raises blood sugar and puts weight on in the mid line. If you do not learn to transform the way you react to stress and change your perception to stress you will continue to produce cortisol, which will increase your blood sugar.

All of these steps will help control your diabetes and can decrease your risk of a heart attack or stroke. In addition, your physician may have you on appropriate medications for heart attack and stroke prevention. These may include medications to lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol as well as aspirin. People who have diabetes and high triglycerides may speak with their physician about taking omega 3 fish oil as a way of decreasing their triglycerides and helping to decrease their blood sugar and inflammation.

Diabetics are three times more likely to have a stroke, but they can control their risk by keeping their blood sugar in check.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.