Diabetes and Stroke Prevention

What you Should Know About Diabetes

Diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, is a condition that causes blood sugar to rise. A fasting blood glucose (sugar) level of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher is dangerous. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have a stroke as people who do not. They also tend to develop heart disease or have a stroke at an earlier age than those without diabetes.

People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Every two minutes, an American adult with diabetes is hospitalized for a stroke.

Diabetes and Stroke Connection

The connection between diabetes and stroke relates to how the body handles blood glucose to make energy. Most food we eat is broken down into glucose to give us energy. Glucose enters a person’s bloodstream and travels to cells throughout the body after food digests.

For glucose to enter cells and provide energy, it needs a hormone called insulin. The pancreas is responsible for producing this insulin in the right amounts. The pancreas does not make insulin for people with Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes). In people with Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas either makes too little insulin, or muscles, the liver and fat do not use insulin correctly. As a result, people with untreated diabetes end up with too much glucose in their blood, leaving their cells unable to receive enough energy. Over time, excessive blood glucose can increase fatty deposits or clots in blood vessels that may lead to stroke.

Manage Diabetes and Lower Your Risk of Stroke

Get tested regularly and talk with your doctor to ensure you’re doing all you can to keep healthy. Know your numbers:

A1C Test


Below 7%
This test shows your average blood glucose levels for the past three months. The test should be performed two to four times a year.

Blood Pressure

The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mm Hg.


Treatment guidelines recommend that those aged 40 to 75 with diabetes and LDL-C between 70 and 189 mg/dL should receive a moderate-intensity statin. No matter your age, your doctor should assess your overall risk of cardiovascular disease to determine if a statin is recommended.


When you quit smoking

  • you lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other health conditions
  • your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels may improve
  • your blood circulation improves
  • you may have an easier time being physically active

Be Informed, Be Healthy

People with diabetes can live long, healthy lives, free from heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. Recognizing the connection between diabetes and stroke is the first step toward lowering stroke risk.

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