More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and they’re twice as likely to suffer a debilitating stroke than those without diabetes.
Diabetes is a severe chronic illness that affects how your body uses glucose for energy. Over time, it affects other aspects of your health, including your blood vessels and nervous system.
If you're not careful in controlling your blood sugar, you could end up with severe complications like a heart attack or a stroke.
Dr. Hesham Fakhri offers expert diagnosis and treatment for various heart and vascular issues at the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute. Dr. Fakhri is a cardiology and vascular specialist who helps you understand the link between diabetes and suffering a stroke.
Diabetes is a chronic medical problem that affects how your body uses glucose for energy. There are various forms of diabetes, including Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your pancreas doesn't make enough or any insulin, which is necessary to move the glucose in your blood into cells for energy. Formerly known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 can occur in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.
Most people with Type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections to control their blood sugar. There's currently no cure for this form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes often occurs in adulthood and is more common than any other form. When you're living with Type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin but can't use it appropriately to control your blood sugar.
Some people with Type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar through diet and regular exercise. But others may need medications and insulin to keep their blood sugar in check.
Diabetes is a progressive disease that affects your blood sugar and other areas of your body. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to nerve damage and blood vessel problems, later causing other chronic diseases.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is a severe medical condition that happens when one of the vessels in your brain is blocked or ruptures, leading to a lack of oxygen to specific brain areas.
When you have a stroke, blood flow and oxygen are significantly decreased in areas of your brain, which results in signs and symptoms that might include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty speaking
- Trouble expressing emotions
- Difficulty thinking
In severe cases, a stroke can lead to death. The results of a stroke may be temporary or permanent, depending on how long your brain was without enough blood and oxygen.
Your risk of a stroke with diabetes
One of the many ways diabetes affects your body is through blood vessels. When you have excessive blood glucose from uncontrolled diabetes, your vessels can narrow, and less oxygenated blood reaches your brain and vital organs.
High blood sugar also leads to fatty deposits forming in your blood vessels that can break off and travel to your brain, causing a stroke. In addition, diabetes can cause clots in your blood vessels, which can break away and travel to your brain, blocking essential blood flow.
But diabetes is only one risk factor for a stroke. Your overall health, wellness, lifestyle, and weight all play into your risk for serious health issues such as a stroke.
Tips to prevent a stroke
Whether you're living with diabetes or not, you should understand how to reduce your risk of a life-altering stroke. At the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute, we provide you with prevention tips, which include:
- Keep your diabetes in check
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking as soon as possible
- Eat a heart-healthy diet
- Manage daily stress
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly
If you're concerned about your risk for a stroke, we provide you with blood tests and diagnostic tools to assess your risk and your vascular health. We then customize a treatment plan and preventive care plan to keep your brain and body healthy and prevent severe illnesses like stroke.
Call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, to get treatment for diabetes to prevent a stroke, or request an appointment online today.