Diabetes and the Risk of Stroke
There are many worries and concerns when you are diabetic and stroke is one of the big ones. It is important to understand that those with diabetes are at a much higher risk that those without. A stroke happens when a blood vessel which carries blood to the brain becomes blocked and/or damaged. After a period of three minutes, the part of the brain that is not getting the blood that it needs will start to die. The two different types of strokes that can occur are an hemorrhagic stroke which is when an artery is ruptured, and an ischemic stroke which is when the artery is blocked. Depending upon which stroke happens will make a difference in the treatment given.
One of the main reasons that diabetics are highly at risk for stroke is due to the high blood pressure that they experience. This is the number one cause and below that is smoking cigarettes and having high “bad” cholesterol. In those that are not diabetic where a stroke occurs, it is possible that other arteries may take oxygen to the brain by going around the blockage. However, in someone that has diabetes, the other arteries tend to have damage so there is no other way to get blood flow to the brain. This is another factor in stroke being a greater risk for diabetes patients.
Knowing the symptoms and signs of a stroke can be lifesaving. These can include trouble swallowing, blurred vision, dizziness, intense headache that happens out of nowhere, numbness in a limb or the face and even paralysis of a part of the body. Other symptoms could also be trouble speaking or losing consciousness for a short period of time. If you feel as though you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. It is also important to keep a list of the signs where someone can see them if you are not alone so they know to call for help.
There are different treatments that can be given which will depend on the diagnosis and the outcome. It is possible that medication may be administered, possibly surgery or even angioplasty can be done as well. The type of treatment is going to depend on several different things with the patient such as whether or not they have blacked out, and if so the length of time, as well as other signs that can tell the doctor the severity of the situation so they can make the right diagnosis.
Making changes to your lifestyle can help you to reduce the risk of stroke. One of the biggest is not to smoke. Diabetics should not be smoking no matter what. Keep a healthy weight, get plenty of exercise, keep a close eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, if any. Of course you need to make sure that you are taking any medications that your doctor has prescribed you and follow their instructions to the letter.
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