“Stroke” is a dreadful word. Everyone dreads having a stroke, but few people truly understand what causes a stroke or what the true stroke definition is.
To put it in simple terms, a stroke happens when blood flow to the brain gets cut off. This can cause some of the brain’s cells to die. As a result, abilities related to that specific part of the brain, such as speech or balance, can be negatively affected by a stroke.
Strokes can be major or minor, depending on a number of factors, such as how long blood flow is cut off, what part of the brain is affected, and the cause of the stroke in the first place. However, no stroke is harmless, and people should make every effort to understand stroke symptoms and to be vigilant about their health. This is especially true for diabetics, who are at an increased risk for having a stroke.
The Stroke/Diabetes Connection You Need to Know About
As mentioned above, having diabetes can greatly increase your risk of having a stroke. However, what you may be wondering is why?
Well, the main reason that diabetic people have strokes is because they allow their blood glucose levels to get too high. This happens when diabetes is not well-controlled and can eventually affect blood vessels negatively by causing them to narrow or by leading to blockages.
When the blood vessels become damaged in this way, there is a greater likelihood of a person’s blood supply to the brain being cut off, thereby leading to an increased risk for stroke.
Fortunately, if you are diabetic, you can protect yourself by controlling your blood glucose levels and by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
Know and Be on the Lookout for the Warning Signs
One of the first things that you should do as a diabetic is to educate yourself on the signs of a stroke. By being aware of these signs, especially the early ones, you can get help when needed.
So many people suffer more than they have to in the long-term because they don’t realize they’re having a stroke and allow their blood supply to be cut off for too long before seeking help.
To keep that from happening to you, be aware of these warning signs:
- One side of the face suddenly becomes drooping or numb
- One arm suddenly becomes weak or numb
- Difficulty speaking and/or slurred speech
- Mental confusion
- Sudden vision impairments
- Lack of coordination
- Severe headache that occurs without reason or warning
The above symptoms are signs that a stroke is happening or will happen soon and merit immediate medical care. If you experience any of these symptoms or even think that you do, do not ignore them. Seeking medical assistance could mean the difference between life and death.
Eat Healthy to Reduce Your Chances of Having a Stroke
While properly managing your diabetes through regular doctor’s visits can help you to reduce your chances of a stroke, there are many other things you can do, aside from knowing the warning signs, to protect yourself.
One of these things is to make every possible effort to eat healthily. This means eating a diet that is within the recommended daily calorie range prescribed by your doctor. In fact, for best results, you should stick to a nutrition plan provided to you by a doctor or a nutritionist who is familiar with the specialized dietary needs of diabetics.
In addition, research has shown that consuming adequate fiber, at least 14 grams per day, can be helpful for diabetics seeking to control their blood sugar, so it is wise to design your daily meal plans with this information in mind.
Avoid Smoking and All Tobacco Products
Smoking is bad for everyone, but it’s especially bad for diabetics.
Smoking cigarettes contributes to all kinds of health problems, including an increased risk for stroke. Since, as a diabetic, you are already at a higher risk for having a stroke, why double the chances (and then some) by choosing to smoke?
If you don’t currently smoke, don’t start. And, if you do smoke, do everything possible to quit.
Also, don’t try to get around stopping smoking by choosing to vape, “chew,” or otherwise use tobacco and/or nicotine containing products. While these products may be popular, there is no research showing that they are safe or that they reduce the risk of stroke and other related health conditions.
Remember, your health is a precious commodity, especially as a diabetic, and it is your job to treat it as such. If you can follow this advice, you’ll be well on your way to controlling your diabetes and improving your health while reducing your risk of stroke.