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Diabetes and Stroke

by | Aug 31, 2023

Diabetes and strokes are serious health concerns and can be life-threatening. We are likely to know someone, an acquaintance, working colleague, or a family member that has experienced stroke. How is stroke related to diabetes?

Middle aged couple biking at the park

Introduction to Stroke and Diabetes

The two conditions appear different but have a strong connection. If left unmanaged, diabetes can put someone at risk of a stroke. Diabetes is an independent risk factor for stroke and many experience high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and are overweight, further increasing their risk. (Learn more about how to prevent stroke by identifying the causes and risk factors on our blog post, “Stroke Prevention: Causes and Risk Factors”.)

Stroke Statistics in Singapore

Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death in Singapore and it is estimated that there are 24-26 stroke cases daily. People with diabetes are 2 times likely to have a stroke and it is known to be a high risk factor. Not only that, people with diabetes also tend to develop heart disease or have stroke at an earlier age than those without diabetes. People with pre diabetes are at further risk for developing type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and stroke. While stroke most commonly happens for those in their 70s and 80s, those with diabetes tend to develop stroke at a younger age even in their 40s to 50s. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is diagnosed at fasting blood glucose of greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl. This means anything higher than this number is dangerous. 

  • Normal: less than 100 mg/dL
  • Prediabetes: 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dL
  • Diabates: 126 mg/dL or higher

Understanding Diabetes’ Impact on Your Body

Some people develop a chronic condition called diabetes when their body cannot handle sugar normally. The body cannot produce enough or is resistant to insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels.

Normally, after you eat or drink something, your body takes the sugars from the food and turns them into energy that your cells can use. To do this, a part of your body called the pancreas produces insulin. Think of insulin as a helper that takes the sugar from your blood and gives it to your cells for energy.

However, for people with diabetes, their pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or none at all. This means the cells aren’t able to receive sugar as they should. As a result, blood glucose levels rise while the cells don’t receive the energy they need. This can cause health issues that affect every major body system.

Three types of diabetes exist:

  • Type 1 diabetes– The body makes little to no insulin. The condition generally appears during childhood but can emerge in young adults.
  • Type 2 diabetes– At least 90% of people have type 2 diabetes. A person’s body no longer responds well to insulin and becomes resistant.
  • Gestational diabetes– The condition emerges in pregnant women and goes away after birth. However, the chance of getting type 2 diabetes increases.

Before type 2 diabetes, people almost always will have prediabetes. The blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Diabetes has a risk of leading to further complications. A person might develop heart disease, worsened eyesight, or experience nerve damage. High blood sugar also can impact the kidneys and cause chronic kidney disease.

According to the  American Stroke Organization, it’s important to understand the risks associated with diabetes. They are:

Diabetes or prediabetes

  • Excessive belly fat

  • Men: waist over 40 inches
  • Women: waist over 35 inches

High blood pressure 

  • High blood glucose levels

  • High cholesterol 

Smoking

Diabetes Diagnosis 

Doctors may diagnose diabetes with an A1C test. The test measures the average blood glucose for the past two or three months. Another is a fasting blood test. The doctor takes a blood sample after an individual has not eaten or drank for eight hours.

What To Do When Getting a Diabetes Diagnosis After Stroke

You might receive a diagnosis after suffering from a stroke. The next step is to monitor your blood sugar regularly. Take diabetes medication and change your diet to a healthy one.

How are Stroke and Diabetes Related?

High Blood Sugar Level

Strokes and diabetes have a connection. One way they are related is through high blood sugar levels. Having too much sugar in the bloodstream can damage vessels. As a result, the blood vessels can become stiff. If this change occurs in the brain, a stroke may happen.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is when cholesterol, fat, and other substances build up in the arteries. It can happen on its own, but diabetes can promote the buildup. The arteries narrow as a result, limiting the oxygen supply to the body. The narrowing of blood vessels makes blockage more likely to occur, leading to a stroke.

Blood Clots

The buildup of fat and the narrowing of vessels can create blood clots. If a clot reaches the brain, it can lead to a stroke. Not everyone who has diabetes will have a stroke. Nevertheless, about 33% of stroke patients have diabetes.

Things To Do to Stay Healthy as a Diabetic

Medication

Managing blood sugar is an effective way to stay healthy with diabetes. Medication is a common way to do this. Insulin often works to lower a person’s blood sugar level.

Some people take inhibitors to help their body break down starchy foods. A doctor may prescribe biguanides to reduce glucose production and make the body more responsive to insulin.

Health Checks

People with diabetes should perform self-checks regularly. For instance, you should record your blood sugar level several times a day. Doctor appointments should be every three months. Your physician reviews your health and can help you meet your goals.

Lifestyle Changes

Another aspect of staying healthy is lifestyle changes. Being active and switching the foods you eat can help. Other changes include avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol, and reducing stress.

Diabetes Education

It is necessary to learn how diabetes affects your health and how to live with it. Resources online can provide tips. You can also find a program with an education specialist to guide you in managing diabetes.

Living With Diabetes

Condition management means doing things like checking blood sugar levels frequently. It also involves proper oral hygiene and checking your feet for cuts or sores. Being active helps as well.

You should aim for at least 30 minutes a day for three days a week. The body becomes more sensitive to insulin, especially if you are active in the afternoon or evening.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

If you have prediabetes, early treatment can return blood sugar levels to the normal range with the following tips.

Losing 7% of your body weight (15 pounds for those who weigh over 200 pounds) and exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Shedding 10-15 pounds will still go a long way even if you’re not able to reach your ideal body weight. 

Read our “Stroke Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment: A Complete Guide” blog post to stay informed about the types of stroke, symptoms, screening, diagnosis, treatment options, stroke management, and more. Did you know that women have a higher risk of stroke? 

Stroke Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A stroke occurs when a bleeding or blood clot disrupts the blood supply to the brain. Learn more about stroke causes, meaning, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and management.

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic Offers Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management

With our commitment to your well-being, the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic provides a comprehensive range of treatments backed by the latest advancements in medical science for stroke. Strokes are a serious medical condition that require immediate attention. Our stroke specialist in Singapore, Dr. Manish Taneja, has a dedicated stroke screening program designed to identify individuals who may be at risk of a stroke or have already experienced one, even if they are not yet showing symptoms. From advanced interventions to personalized management and prevention programs, we will work closely with you and your loved ones to create a tailored plan. Contact us today at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore.

How Brain Aneurysms Affect Stroke Risk

A brain aneurysm is a weak or bulging area in the wall of an artery in the brain. When an aneurysm ruptures or bursts, it can lead to a type of stroke called a hemorrhagic stroke.

Consult a Stroke Specialist in Singapore

Dr. Manish Taneja, is an expert in endovascular and image guided neurointerventional procedures of brain and spine. It’s important to find a doctor you can trust if you have diabetes and need stroke management. He has special interest in treatment of brain aneurysms, stroke and vascular malformations. Come in for a further evaluation. Arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our stroke specialist.

 

Dr. Manish Taneja performing surgery

Stroke Resources

Stroke and Brain Health

The brain is the control center of the body. Keeping your brain healthy and mind sharp can help prevent neurological disorders and improve cognitive functioning, emotional well-being, and quality of life.

Middle aged couple using the laptop

We’ve Got You Covered for Specialized Stroke Screening, Prevention, and Management

Imagine heart attacks where the blood flow to your heart is blocked. Similarly, a stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted becoming a “brain attack”. When blood supply does not reach a certain part, brain cells begin to die. Different types of stroke include ischemic strokes (blockage of blood vessel due to blood clot) or a mini stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack), with no permanent damage yet serious. Stroke also occurs when a blood vessel in the brain pops causing bleeding in the brain.

Certain areas of the brain can be affected by stroke and some symptoms of a stroke including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood sugar levels increase the risk of stroke whereas an active lifestyle or controlling high cholesterol reduces the risk. How well do you know stroke? Find tips to prevent and manage stroke, the differences in stroke screening tests, and the newer technology and treatments available. 

Supreme Vascular and Interventional Stroke Programs

Brain Aneurysm Resources

Discover brain aneurysm resources that go beyond the basics designed for patients. Understand the meaning of  a brain aneurysm condition, the causes, symptoms, signs, and more. Connect with your brain health.

Put Brain Aneurysm on Your Health Radar

Did you experience the worst headache of your life? Could it be a brain aneurysm that ruptures, which means bleeding in the brain? Thoughts could be racing through your mind. Then what is the difference between unruptured (a weak or thin spot on an artery in the brain that balloons) or ruptured brain aneurysm? If you’re wondering, then the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is here to help. It’s important to look out for the tell-tale brain aneurysm symptoms, signs, causes, and risk factors.

Dr. Manish Taneja has been performing brain aneurysm treatments since 1995 from surgical clipping to latest minimally invasive procedures. Each patient is unique as is the size and location of the aneurysm. Your brain has different conditions to treat the aneurysm and artery vessel walls of a blood vessel in the brain. This calls for personalised brain aneurysm treatment depending on your symptoms, family, history, medication, and more. A simple CT scan could be just what the doctor ordered and the first step in early detection and prevention of a brain aneurysm. Come in for an easy consultation with our brain aneurysm specialist in Singapore to be on your health radar.

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various neurological conditions and treatments. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our neurointervention specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.