The Relationship between Diabetes and Stroke
Seeing that diabetes is a disease that causes increased blood glucose levels, while stroke is a condition that mostly affects the brain, how are the two connected?
According to medical experts, diabetes increases your risk of stroke because of how it affects the blood vessels.
You see, with the increased glucose level in the blood, the blood vessels are more likely to accumulate fat deposits.
Moreover, blood sugar can trigger the occurrence of blood clots.
These fat deposits or blood clots can cause a stroke if they block or rupture the blood vessels within the brain.
But, there’s more to the relationship between diabetes and stroke.
Scientists found out that stroke patients who exhibit uncontrolled blood sugar have a higher mortality or death rate. Likewise, the post-stroke outcome also tends to be poorer with high glucose levels.
Diabetes and Stroke Share Similar Risk Factors
Another reason why there’s a strong relationship between diabetes and stroke is that these two conditions share some risk factors.
This means that some of the risk factors for diabetes are also risk factors for stroke. These are:
- Obesity, especially when the extra fat is concentrated in the middle or belly. This is also called the “apple body shape”.
- Prediabetes, a condition wherein the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be categorized as diabetes.
- High blood pressure
How to Lower Your Risk of Stroke if You Have Diabetes
Now that you have a good idea of how diabetes increases your risk of stroke, let’s talk about prevention.
If you don’t have diabetes, there are many ways to reduce your risk. There are also a lot of lifestyle changes that can help prevent stroke. But, what if you already have diabetes? What can you do to prevent a stroke from happening?
The following tips can help:
Avoid or Quit Smoking
Smoking is not helpful even if you don’t have diabetes, but if you do, it becomes even more dangerous.
Both diabetes and smoking narrow the blood vessels, making it difficult for the blood to circulate effectively to different parts of the body, including the brain.
Hence, to reduce your risk of a stroke, avoid smoking or totally quit the habit.