This Article is From Oct 29, 2021

World Stroke Day 2021: Can Diabetes Trigger Stroke? Here Is What You Should Know

World Stroke Day: This day, observed on 29 October each year, tries to spread awareness about the prevention steps for this serious medical condition. Read here to know risk factors and if it can be triggered with diabetes.

World Stroke Day 2021: Can Diabetes Trigger Stroke? Here Is What You Should Know

World Stroke Day: A stroke happens when the supply of blood to the brain is restricted

World Stroke Day 2021: More than one-third of people over the age of 70 may have a silent stroke and this perhaps is the second leading cause of disability. During a stroke, part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen supply that leads to permanent disabilities like memory deficiencies, difficulty in deciphering the language or walking.

In a heart attack the blood vessel of the heart gets blocked, reducing the blood supply and damaging that area. In a brain attack or stroke, the same process of blocking of blood vessels to the brain occurs where one part of the brain does not get adequate blood supply, causing that area to become dead. This results in loss of brain function. The part of the brain damaged does not recover causing severe disability for life. Large number of medications can have a negative impact on the neurological system, most common being the anti-psychotic drugs, as they cause sedation, confusion, lack of concentration, affect memory, and in some cases, cause parkinsonism and dystonia. Excessive use of medication may affect sensorium.

Also read: World Stroke Day 2020: Your 6 Step Guide To Preventing A Stroke

Linkage of these medications to strokes:

Usually, most drugs are not known to cause strokes specifically. However, recent studies have shown that people with Insulin resistance have a higher incidence of stroke. So, if you have diabetes, but even an early sign of diabetes, like insulin resistance, can cause stroke or become a risk factor. So, we need to have a very strict self-control to prevent strokes. Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are a known cause for stroke, in any case. 

How can it be detected?

Insulin resistance can be detected by two methods: Tests detect insulin levels and tell us whether insulin is working or not, and glucose tolerance test which tells us if our sugar levels rise when challenged with glucose. 

What are other things/diseases that can trigger a stroke 

Most common condition where we can have a stroke is uncontrolled diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension. Suddenly falling blood pressure can also precipitate stroke. People with hypercoagulable state, like COVID – 19 and COVID vaccination, it is unfortunate, but it is a very small number as compared to the 100 crore vaccinations that have been administered. Studies show that about 60-70% of COVID patients experience long covid symptoms, most common one being fatigue. The best way to deal with them is to do regular exercise 

Risk factors:

  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension 
  • High cholesterol level
  • Family history of the disease 
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Age

Follow these steps to ensure good cardiovascular health and for preventing stroke in the long run:

1. Be Physically Active

Setting achievable targets like exercising for 15-30 minutes daily can be a good start. Engaging in fun physical activities like a game of badminton, cricket, jogging or walking is recommended. 

2. Consume a healthy diet 

Consuming a diet rich in fiber and low in fats is recommended. Eat plenty of fruits, leafy greens, vegetables, fish, and lean meats for adequate intake of vitamins and minerals. In addition to ensuring nutrition, a healthy diet can also keep weight in control. 

3. Quit Smoking and limit alcohol consumption

Smoking increases the risk of clogged blood vessels and build-up of plaque leading to narrowed arteries. Besides, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and hypertension thereby increasing the risk of stroke. 

4. Keep Cholesterol levels in check

Consuming a diet low in saturated fats, exercise and cholesterol-lowering medication can help keep cholesterol in control and stroke at bay. 

5. Control blood pressure 

Consistently high blood pressure can increase the plaque build-up and thicken artery walls 4-6 times more, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Blood pressure can be maintained by reducing intake of sodium, alcohol and caffeine. Engaging in regular physical activity can also help in regulating blood pressure.   

6. Avoiding illegal drugs 

Certain street drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, are established risk factors for a TIA or a stroke

7. Try mediating and other stress relieving activities

Anything that can have an adverse impact on your cardiovascular health increases our risk for a stroke, hence, especially for the young, it is important that they take care of their stress levels and ensure it does become a common part of their life.

(Dr. Vinay Goyal, Director - Neurology Institute of Neurosciences, Medanta)

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