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The link between stroke and diabetes

If diabetes is not controlled well, the effects of high blood sugar can increase your risk of having a stroke.

The Stroke Association says having diabetes nearly doubles a person's stroke risk and plays a role in around 1 in 5 strokes.

Diabetes can contribute to narrowing and hardening of the arteries. This makes them more likely to rupture or become blocked. This can cut off the oxygen supply to the brain, called a stroke.

Without oxygen, parts of the brain can be damaged causing disability, speech problems, or death in some cases. The longer the brain is starved of oxygen, the more damage is done. Stroke recovery chances improve the quicker treatment is given.

Diabetes is just one major risk factor for a stroke. Others include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.

Many people with type 2 diabetes don't know they have it, and some may be diagnosed after becoming ill with another medical problem, including a stroke.

Stroke is a medical emergency and the symptoms can be remembered with the help of this message: 'Act FAST':

  • Face: has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms: can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • Speech: is their speech slurred?
  • Time: time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 20, 2017

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