Diabetes and Stroke: Joining the Alert Points

“Epidemiologic studies have shown that diabetes is a well-established risk factor for stroke,” says a recent review study published in the Journal of Stroke.

“There are several pathophysiological mechanisms by which diabetes leads to ischemic stroke, including large-artery atherosclerosis, cerebral SVD, and cardiac embolism. Not only does the presence of diabetes increase the risk of stroke, but post-stroke outcomes are also generally worse. Patients with diabetes are more likely to have diabetes than those without diabetes. ,” adds the review survey.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel; Hebrew University of Jerusalem; University of Toronto; Myoclinic and University of La’Aquila.

How does diabetes lead to stroke?

High blood sugar hardens the blood vessels which leads to fatty deposits or clots in the blood vessels over time.

Clots narrow blood vessels and cut off blood supply to major organs like the brain and hence cause a stroke.


People with diabetes have twice the risk of stroke compared to others

Diabetes is a highly prevalent disease and is often associated with cardiometabolic risk factors that increase the risk of stroke.

Those with diabetes also have a worse post-stroke condition and a higher risk of stroke recurrence, the study found.

The number of diabetic patients is increasing

According to the International Diabetes Federation, 537 million adults are currently living with diabetes; This number, which is already alarming, is expected to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045.

Diabetes is associated with a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke and ischemic stroke.

According to the study, the risk of ischemic stroke increases by 3% per year and triples in those with diabetes for ≥10 years compared to those without diabetes.

Hyperglycemia, or a condition in which blood glucose levels >6.0 mmol/L (108 mg/dL) are reported after hospitalization in up to two-thirds of all ischemic stroke subtypes, the review study found.

Three common problems that are associated with diabetes and stroke

Diabetes plays an active role in influencing three common causes of stroke: large artery atherosclerosis, cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), and cardiac embolism.

Atherosclerosis of large arteries, a major cause of stroke, is accelerated by physiological changes caused by dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance.

Cerebral microvascular dysfunction, commonly seen in people with diabetes, predisposes a person to lacunar and hemorrhagic strokes.

People with diabetes have a 35% increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a known and probable cause of cardiometabolic stroke.

Other risk factors for stroke

In addition to diabetes, other risk factors for stroke are excess abdominal fat, defined as waist size greater than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, and tobacco use.

How can you reduce your risk of stroke if you have diabetes?

If you have diabetes, it is ideal to adopt a healthy lifestyle so that you can prevent the risk of stroke.

“Lower your risk by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol on target with healthy eating habits, exercise, and medication when needed. And if you smoke, quit. Every step you take will help. The closer your numbers are to your goal, the better your stroke prevention. The better the chances are,” recommends the American Diabetes Association.

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