Presented partnership with Know Diabetes By Heart, article originally published here.
Download the PDF for an easy way to remember the recognizable signs of a stroke F.A.S.T
People living with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of heart disease and stroke and many don’t know it. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to care for your heart and protect your healthy future.
Keep reading to learn about the link between diabetes and your cardiovascular system, how to recognize a stroke and the steps you can take to prevent this life-threatening complication.
How Does Diabetes Increase My Risk of Stroke?
Individuals living with diabetes have an excess of blood glucose (also called blood sugar) running through the many blood vessels that make up the cardiovascular system. Having too much sugar in your blood can damage your blood vessels over time, causing them to become stiff. With this stiffness comes a build-up of fatty deposits like plaque which can cause blockages and lead to a stroke
How Can I Prevent a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood vessels in the brain are blocked or busts. This damage prevents oxygen and vital nutrients from reaching the brain’s tissues and without these, brain cells can become damaged and begin to die within minutes. Having a stroke can lead to lasting brain damage, long-term disability and even death. If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke, call for help right away. To protect your heart health and reduce your risk of stroke, start with these simple, preventative steps below.
4 Steps to Preventing Stroke if You Have Diabetes
- Team Up and Set Health Goals Schedule a time to talk with your health care team to better understand the complexities of diabetes and what you can do to stay healthy. Since COVID-19, many health care providers have been willing to communicate via phone, email or a secure patient portal. Getting the answers and care you need has never been more convenient.
- Stay Up to Date With Medication Your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications to lower your blood glucose and reduce cardiovascular risk. To help you better manage your diabetes and heart health, stay up to date with doctor visits and medication. A solid medication regimen, in combination with a healthy diet and exercise, can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Stay Physically Active & Eat a Health Diet Healthy eating starts with healthy food choices. You don’t need to be a chef to create nutritious, heart-healthy meals you and your family will love. Our recipe collection can help you learn what to look for at the grocery store, restaurants, your workplace and any other eating occasion.
- Manage Your Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and Diabetes High cholesterol can contribute to the build-up of fatty plague that causes blockages. Learn more about reducing your cholesterol numbers and getting all your diabetes-related questions answered in an educational program like Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES). Find a program near you.
People living with type 2 diabetes are at an especially high risk for stroke. Start with these steps to reduce your risk and be sure to learn to recognize the signs of a stroke.
Recognize a Stroke F.A.S.T
The effects of a stroke can vary, depending on which area of the brain has been affected. Effects may include loss or deterioration of speech and language, cognitive reasoning, self-care ability, emotional control and more.
If you or a loved one is having a stroke, every second counts. Learn to recognize the signs of a stroke F.A.S.T. to prevent long-lasting damage to the brain and body.
For help remembering the signs of a stroke, print and hang this easy PDF somewhere convenient.
You’re Not in This Alone
If you have diabetes, there’s a lot you can do to reduce your risk of stroke. Schedule a time to talk with your health care team and follow these steps for your take 2 against type 2.
Find answers to your questions and join the initiative at: KnowDiabetesbyHeart.org/youre-in-the-right-place