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Diabetes and Stroke: Warning Signs, Prevention, Treatment

Diabetes and Stroke

diabetes and stroke

Stroke in Diabetes patients is considered one of the macrovascular complications just like a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Your likelihood of suffering a stroke rises if you have diabetes. It is estimated that the prevalence of stroke in individuals with prediabetes and diabetes is 7.8% and 11.2% respectively [Ref].

In one study, the prevalence of stroke in diabetics was 11.6% vs 5.1% in non-diabetics.

Therefore, you may take efforts to make sure you’re one of the individuals who seek to avoid having a stroke even if you have diabetes.

Your chance of ever having a stroke will be reduced by knowing your risk factors, adopting a healthy lifestyle, maintaining strict blood glucose (blood sugar) management, and more.

Stroke Prevalence:



Prevalence of Stroke 11.6% 5.1%
The relative risk of stroke Women: 1.40

Men: 1.70

Prevalence of stroke in patients with Diabetes + Hypertension 17.8% 8.9%
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What does having a stroke mean?

A stroke happens when the blood supply is suddenly cut off to a section of your brain. After that, brain tissue is damaged.

The major reason for strokes is when a blood clot in the brain or neck blocks a blood vessel.

Moreover, a stroke can have a variety of side symptoms, including problems speaking or moving, pain, numbness, and problems thinking or remembering.

Some people experience emotional problems following a stroke, including depression.

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The link between diabetes and stroke

Let’s begin with your blood vessels. Within your body, there are kilometers of blood vessels that transport RBCs to and from the heart. Your blood vessels may begin to suffer damage if you have excessive glucose (sugar) in your blood over time.

This is due to the fact that your body can’t adequately utilize all of this sugar, which causes more of it to adhere to your red blood cells and accumulate in your blood.

So, the blood arteries that transport blood throughout your body may get blocked or damaged as a result of this buildup, depriving the brain of oxygen and nutrients.

Therefore, maintaining your HbA1c level as near to your goal as feasible can aid in protecting your blood vessels. Over time, even slightly elevated blood sugar levels might put you in greater danger.

Lastly, always keep a check on your HbA1c levels and how you need to manage them if it is too high.

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Warning signs of a stroke in diabetics:

The following are examples of the abrupt development of typical stroke warning signs:

  • One side of the body feels weak or numb. Sudden bewilderment or communication difficulties.
  • Difficulty walking, vertigo, or loss of balance
  • Difficulty with vision in one or both eyes
  • Dual vision
  • Terrible headache

It is not uncommon that old diabetic patients to have repeated small strokes called microvascular infarcts. These elderly diabetic patients can present with memory impairment, Parkinson’s disease, changes in personality, and sleep problems.

Small microvascular strokes deep inside the brain are the most prevalent in diabetic patients. These are also called lacunar strokes and account for 28% – 43% of all strokes in diabetic patients [Ref]

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How to lower your chances of stroke with diabetes

Here are some actions you may do to lessen your risk of having a stroke.

  • Have your HbA1c and blood cholesterol evaluated every three to six months as part of your yearly diabetes assessment. To maintain these readings within your target range, be sure to ask your healthcare team for advice and support.
  • Avoid smoking since blood flow around your body’s key organs is hampered by smoking.
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet, and start by limiting your salt intake.
  • Be active physically.
  • Try to reduce your weight to a healthy level if you are overweight. Moreover, the stress on your body is reduced when you maintain a healthy weight.
  • As directed, take your medication. You can take certain medications, which safeguard your body by lowering high blood pressure, even if you don’t currently have any blood pressure issues.
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What increases your chances of developing a stroke with diabetes?

Diabetes increases the risk of stroke. However, your risk is elevated if:

  • You are older than 55.
  • You are overweight, and your LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol values are both high.
  • Your ancestors are African Americans.
  • A family record of stroke
  • You’ve previously experienced a stroke
  • You don’t engage in any exercise
  • Smoking
  • You have high blood pressure and heart disease.
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How to treat stroke in diabetics?

Treatments and activities to help patients regain function or relearn abilities are part of the post-stroke care you get.

Also, psychological counseling as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapy may be provided.

Moreover, quitting smoking, eating well, exercising, and maintaining good blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are all preventative measures that should be taken.

Diabetes medications that may increase the risk of stroke should be avoided. These include SGLT2 inhibitors such as:

It is also important to avoid medications that may increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Long-acting drugs such as Glyburide (Daonil) should be avoided.

Some surgical options are listed below:

  • Surgery on the carotid artery, commonly known as carotid endarterectomy, removes fat deposits from the artery and improves blood flow to the brain.
  • A blockage in a blood channel leading to the brain can be removed through carotid stenting. So, the blocked or constricted blood artery is threaded with a tiny tube that has a balloon attached.
  • Additionally, the artery is then made wider by inflating the balloon. To assist in keeping the artery open, a wire tube, or stent, could be left in place.
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What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

Dr. Ahmed is an experienced Internist with over fifteen years of practice in the medical field. He strongly believes that true medical practice is about helping people, not just prescribing pills.
He has found that the best results come from motivating patients to make small lifestyle changes in addition to prescribing medications when necessary.
With a focus on managing obesity, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, depression, arthritis, migraine, high cholesterol levels, and many more medical conditions in his patients, he shares his knowledge and expertise through writing health-related articles for
He is committed to helping patients achieve optimal health outcomes and improve their quality of life. For direct contact, he can be reached at

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