The complications caused by diabetes are many and can cause some serious health issues which can have long term effects. One of the serious health complications of diabetes apart from neuropathy, heart disease and kidney problems is ‘stroke’. But what is the relation between diabetes and stroke? A significant proportion of diabetics die due to a stroke every year. In this article, we present detailed information about this particular health complication of diabetes and stroke.
What is a stroke?
You have heard about it and you might be having a vague idea about it. But do you actually know what a stroke is? A ‘stroke’ is an attack on the brain wherein the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, leading to damage of the brain tissue. This usually occurs due to a blocked blood vessel. It not only causes physical damage but also causes mental problems affecting the thought or speech of a person.
What has diabetes got in common with having a stroke?
There is a relation between diabetes and stroke. Diabetics are at more risk of having a heart attack, stroke or developing heart disease. Diabetes affects the blood vessels and in turn affects the blood flow to the different parts of the body.
When blood flow to the brain is impaired, it causes a stroke. Also, data from various research studies indicate that out of every 3 people with diabetes, 2 may die from heart disease or a stroke. This shows the relation between diabetes and stroke.
Could you have a stroke if you have diabetes?
Having diabetes surely does increase the risk of having a stroke. However, that is not the only factor that puts you at risk. There are many other factors which would determine whether you would be susceptible to stroke. They include:
- A family history of stroke
- Transient ischemic attacks (TIA) also known as mini stroke
- High blood cholesterol levels
What can you do to avoid having a stroke?
Now that you know that diabetes and stroke do have something in common, what could you do to prevent or reduce the risk? Firstly, you need to manage your blood sugar levels and keep them as close to normal as this is the root cause of health complications related to diabetes and stroke.
Also, quitting smoking would greatly reduce the risk. You also need to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure within the target ranges.
What are the warning signs of a stroke?
The common symptoms of a stroke include:
- Sudden numbness on either left or right side of your body
- Trouble seeing
- Severe headache
- Double vision
- Loss of balance
Sometimes, any one or multiple symptoms can appear and then disappear. If you notice any symptoms of a stroke, seek emergency medical care as any delay can prove to be fatal.
How can a stroke be diagnosed?
People with diabetes carrying a risk of stroke must be extra cautious. Diagnosis is usually done using different techniques. The body functions may be assessed by your doctor to notice any changes. MRI scans and CAT scans provide detailed pictures of the brain. An ultrasound examination would also help determine any irregularities in carotid artery.
What is the treatment?
Instant drugs minimize the extent of damage. Therefore, seeking immediate emergency help is very crucial. Surgical options are used to unblock the blood vessels. After the surgery or treatment, rehabilitation therapy also helps restore the brain function and enables the patient to get back to normal.
In order to prevent these health complication, making certain lifestyle changes can be very beneficial. These changes can include:
- Staying away from smoking
- Increased physical activity
- Proper planned meals
- Timely intake of medicines
- Managing the blood pressure etc