According to “The Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education and Desk Reference”, 16% of individuals with diabetes over age 65 years old pass away have passed after having a stroke. This may not sound very high until you compare it with car accidents, cancer, heart attacks, and lung complications that can also cause death. So why is the statistics for strokes so high in diabetics? Many individuals with diabetes also have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.
Now imagine your arteries as an underground tunnel transporting vehicles in the city. The vehicles (sugar) need to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Now its rush hour (meal time) and there are more vehicles (sugar) in the tunnel (artery) so there is going to be more congestion (thick blood). Wait! Now there is road construction in the tunnel (cholesterol) so now we have to slow down traffic in order to merge in to only one lane of traffic. Now tension is high (high blood pressure) and everyone is trying to get through the work zone without being late for work (the brain, heart, lungs etc.). Ohhh nooo! Someone caused an accident and it has resulted in a multi-vehicle pile up (blood clot). Now no one can get to work (the brain, heart, lungs, etc.)!!! If no work can be done, then the company (the individual) will fail (pass away or have long-term side effects such as slurred speech or memory loss).
As you can see, diabetes wasn’t the main cause of the individual’s stroke…it was multiple factors. So in preventing the occurrence of a stroke, try to improve every area of your health. Ways you can improve your health include: 1) Consume a well balanced diet of lean meats, fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, and whole grains 2) Consume a low sodium diet (low salt) 3) Exercise daily 4) Talk to your doctor/dietitian about weight loss and see if it is recommended 5) Talk to your doctor about blood pressure lowering medications if a low sodium (low salt) diet and exercise do not work 6) Talk to your doctor about cholesterol lowering medications if a low cholesterol diet does not work.
Do you have any questions or comments about ways to reduce your risk for a stroke? Drive safely!!!!