Diabetes and Stroke Prevention

  • People who have diabetes are 2 times as likely to have a stroke compared to people who do not have diabetes.
  • People with diabetes also tend to develop heart disease or have a stroke at an earlier age than people without diabetes.
  • People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but also for heart disease and stroke.
  • In the U.S. every 2 minutes an adult with diabetes is hospitalized for stroke.
  • Knowing this, it’s important to understand the connection between diabetes and stroke, recognize the risk factors and take steps to stay healthy.

    Understanding the Risk

    Because of the potential for high blood glucose levels, diabetes itself is a risk factor for stroke. Another reason for the strong connection between diabetes and stroke is that some risk factors for stroke are also risk factors for diabetes. Pre-diabetes, sometimes called metabolic syndrome, is a cluster of four conditions that are all related to metabolism. Having two or more of the conditions at the same time can increase your risk of both diabetes and stroke. These disorders include:

    • Obesity and belly fat; You have excess belly fat if your waist measures:
      - more than 40 inches and you are a man
      - more than 35 inches and you are a woman
    • High blood pressure
    • High blood glucose levels
    • High cholesterol
    • Smoking

    Know Your Numbers

    Another important step is to get regular testing and talk with your health care provider to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep healthy. This includes knowing the ABCs of diabetes.

    What You Can Do

    If you have diabetes, you can ward off the risk of stroke by taking steps to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.

    1. Maintain a heart-healthy diet. Eat at least 14 grams of fiber daily for every 1,000 calories consumed. Keep cholesterol down to 300 milligrams a day.
    2. Don’t smoke.
    3. Maintain a healthy weight. Having a waist measurement of 35 inches or more for women or 40 inches or more for men raises the risk for diabetes.
    4. Exercise every day. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
    5. Limit alcohol. This means no more than one drink a day for women, and no more than two drinks a day for men.
    6. Learn to manage stress.
    7. Talk to your health care provider. Ask your health care provider about preventive medicines. Also keep your doctor informed and discuss your risks and let him or her know about any changes in your appearance or the way you feel.

    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 to lowering stroke risk.

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