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Early Warning Signs of Stroke in Diabetic Patients

F.A.S.T
F.A.S.T

Early Warning Signs of Stroke in Diabetic Patients

Before, we begin with the early warning signs. Let’s try to understand the basics of both stroke and diabetes.

Contents

What is a stroke?

When the blood supply to the brain is cut off, a stroke occurs. A blood clot or blocked artery causes this in about 80% of cases. Damage to the blood vessel itself may also result in strokes. The brain cells cannot receive the oxygen they require to function if there is an inadequate blood supply. Brain cells will die if the supply is cut off for an extended period of time.

The duration of the disruption will determine the consequences of a stroke. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, occurs when a blood vessel becomes momentarily blocked. As the blood supply resumes, the symptoms may subside in minutes, and there may not be significant long-term brain cell damage. Even if the symptoms go away on their own, it is crucial to take TIAs seriously and seek medical attention, as they may indicate the impending occurrence of a more serious stroke. Four out of ten TIA patients will eventually have a stroke.

What is diabetes mellitus?

The illness known as diabetes is characterized by an abrupt rise in blood glucose levels. The primary cause of this is insufficient insulin production. The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin, which aids in converting blood glucose into the energy the body needs to function properly. As a result, the pancreas stops producing insulin, which causes blood sugar levels to skyrocket and results in diabetes, also known as high blood sugar. An individual’s general health may be seriously impacted by uncontrolled blood glucose levels. Diabetes can do more harm to your body than you may imagine, from starting heart disease to causing a stroke.

We have understood both diabetes and stroke individually. Now let’s understand what happens together.

What are diabetic strokes?

You read correctly—a diabetic stroke. Individuals with diabetes are more likely than those without it to experience a stroke. An ischemic stroke increases a patient’s risk of developing the worst health problems or possibly dying, and cerebral microbleeds, or tiny blood clots in the brain, are more common in diabetic patients. This exacerbates the brain’s condition and increases the risk of a serious brain stroke.

What is the relationship between a stroke and diabetes?

Stroke is one of the numerous medical conditions for which diabetes increases your risk.

The American Stroke Association states that the risk of having a stroke is twice as high in individuals with diabetes as in those without the disease. Additionally, they have a higher chance of having a stroke earlier in life, with potentially worse results.

You already have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke than people without diabetes if you have prediabetes.

Are high blood sugar levels related to brain stroke?

Yes, the connection, as discussed above is real and happens due to the formation of blood clots inside the brain due to high sugar levels in the blood. Diabetes means you have too much sugar in your blood. This can increase the risk of a stroke because having too much sugar in your blood can severely damage the blood vessels. Added to this, high blood sugar levels can also make blood vessels stiff.

What happens to the brain before a stroke?

Stroke risk factors that are well-established include diabetes. It may result in blood vessel clotting, which would stop blood flow to the brain. Within minutes, the brain’s cells may begin to die as a result of this obstruction to blood flow. Stenosis, or artery narrowing, is another reason.

Brain blood vessels can develop pathologic alterations due to elevated blood sugar levels in different parts of the brain. If there is a direct impact on cerebral vessels, this may result in stroke. Furthermore, experts report that patients with uncontrolled glucose levels who have had a stroke have a higher mortality rate and worse post-stroke outcomes.

What are the reasons for a stroke?

Diabetes interferes with the body’s capacity to produce and utilize insulin. People with diabetes frequently have excessive blood sugar because insulin transfers glucose from the circulation into cells.

Over time, the accumulation of clots or fat deposits within the blood vessels supplying the brain and neck may be facilitated by this excess sugar. Atherosclerosis is the term for this process.

These deposits have the potential to narrow or even completely block blood vessel walls if they continue to grow. Blood and oxygen cannot reach brain cells if there is a disruption in the blood supply to the brain.

This might result in a stroke. If a stroke is not treated quickly, it may cause irreversible cell damage or even death. If there is brain bleeding, a stroke may also occur.

The primary stroke types are:

  1. Ischemic stroke
  2. Hemorrhagic stroke
  3. Brief stroke of ischemia (TIA)
  • Ischemic stroke

The most prevalent kind of stroke is an ischemic stroke. It happens when a blood clot, which is most commonly the cause, blocks an artery that gives the brain blood that is rich in oxygen. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked.

  • Hemorrhagic Stroke

When a cerebral artery bursts or leaks blood, hemorrhagic stroke happens. Hemorrhagic strokes account for 10% to 20% of all stroke cases. Compared to an ischemic stroke, there is a higher chance of serious complications or death. Cerebral microbleeds, or tiny bleeding in the brain, are more common in diabetics.

  • Brief stroke of ischemia (TIA)

Because a TIA doesn’t cause a permanent neurological injury and only blocks blood flow to the brain for a brief period, it is sometimes referred to as a ministroke. An example of an ischemic stroke is a TIA. It could endure anywhere from a minute to several hours, or until the clogged artery naturally opens again.

A TIA is frequently referred to as a “warning stroke.” Roughly 15% of stroke victims had experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Hurry to get help if you believe someone has experienced or is experiencing a TIA.

Which signs indicate a stroke?

Being aware of a stroke’s warning signs and symptoms is an essential first step in receiving assistance. Severe consequences can be avoided with early intervention.

Additional indications of a stroke include:

  1. Confusion 
  2. Numbness or weakness in the arms, legs, or face, usually on one side
  3. Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes 
  4. Trouble understanding speech
  5. Dizziness
  6. Unidentified severe headache
  7. Loss of balance or coordination
  8. Difficulty in walking

Who is at Risk?

A stroke can happen to anyone, but certain people are predisposed to having one more than others. To make sure you recognize the warning signs, it’s critical to know if you are at higher risk. It’s possible that you are unaware of a weak spot in your blood vessel that could burst, but there are other stroke risk factors that can be checked for and often modified.

A blood clot or blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain is the most common cause of strokes. Fortunately, there are a lot of variables that we can control that lower the likelihood of these kinds of blockages, so you can lower your risk.

A stroke is more likely to occur if:

  • You are overweight.
  • You indulge in smoking.
  • You are a heavy alcohol user.
  • Your cholesterol is elevated.
  • You have elevated blood pressure.
  • You suffer from certain ailments, like atrial fibrillation or diabetes.

Numerous of these risks can be reduced by leading a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet, and exercising frequently.

You should schedule a health screening or speak with your doctor to learn your risk of stroke. You can find out whether you have a higher risk of blood clots or blocked arteries that could lead to strokes by having your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other health parameters checked.

Why Does It Matter, and What Should I Do?

Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke. When it comes to strokes, prompt medical attention is crucial because time is of the essence. Inform the ambulance driver that you believe you may be having a stroke. Even if your symptoms go away, you still need to visit the hospital because it might have been a mini-stroke.

The type of stroke, the part of the brain affected, and the severity of the symptoms will all influence the course of treatment. Restoring your brain’s blood supply will be the top priority. A blood clot may be able to be removed with medication, but occasionally surgery is necessary. The better the outcome, the earlier you receive this treatment.

You’ll most likely require longer-term care after the immediate threat has been addressed in order to aid in your recovery and stop further strokes. To lower your blood pressure or stop clots from forming, you might need to take medication. In certain cases, surgery is advised to enhance the blood flow to the brain. If you experience any long-term effects, like speech or mobility issues, you may require additional support. The sooner you seek assistance, the easier it will be to treat you and the lower the probability that you will suffer long-term consequences.

What are the preventive measures?

Certain individuals require medication to reduce their risk of stroke. For others, this risk can be sufficiently decreased by controlling their diabetes and leading a heart-healthy lifestyle.

By monitoring their diet and taking additional precautions to keep their blood sugar levels from rising, people with diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels.

The current guidelines published by the American Diabetes Association advise individuals to control their blood sugar levels by adhering to a customized diet plan, typically created with the assistance of a dietician or nutritionist.

Among the strategies to lower the chance of a stroke are the following:

  • Engage in regular exercise; aim for at least two hours and thirty minutes of moderate-intense activity each week, such as brisk walks.
  • Consume a diet high in vegetables and low in harmful cholesterol.
  • Give up smoking.
  • The key to drinking alcohol is moderation.
  • Keep your cholesterol levels in check.
  • Sustain a healthy weight.
  • Handle elevated blood pressure.

A diabetic stroke management diet

A comprehensive strategy that includes dietary adjustments, lifestyle adjustments, and medical management is needed to manage diabetic stroke. The following food recommendations can assist in controlling diabetes and reducing the risk of stroke:

Prioritize eating a balanced diet: 

Try to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. Steer clear of high-calorie and processed foods as they can raise blood sugar levels. Keep an eye on your carbohydrate intake because they have a big effect on blood sugar levels. As such, it is essential to keep an eye on the amount of carbohydrates consumed and to select those that are low in glycemic index and high in fiber. Legumes, whole grains, and vegetables are a few examples.

Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats: 

They raise your risk of heart disease and stroke, which is especially dangerous for diabetics. Thus, choose lean protein sources and cut back on high-fat dairy and fatty meats to minimize your intake of saturated and trans fats.

Boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids:

They can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke and reduce inflammation. Thus, incorporate fatty fish into your diet, such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon, or think about taking an omega-3 supplement.

Limit your sodium intake:

Too much of it can raise blood pressure and raise your risk of stroke. Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet by avoiding processed foods, flavoring food with herbs and spices, and, whenever possible, selecting low-sodium options.

Limit your alcohol intake:

It can raise your risk of stroke and have a bad effect on your blood sugar levels. As a result, cut back on alcohol intake or stay away from it completely.

 

NOTE

Serious symptoms, including long-term issues due to brain cell damage, can result from a major stroke. If you can’t get help right away, a stroke could even be deadly. Your chances of making a full recovery are higher the sooner you seek assistance.