Friday, December 9, 2011

How are Diabetes and Stroke Related?

Undiagnosed, untreated and/or poorly controlled diabetes causes damage to both large and small blood vessels. This damage then increases your risk for having a stroke, a poor prognosis, a longer recovery period and sets you up for additional complications.

Excess sugars circulating in the blood stream that occur in diabetes adhere to red blood cells and travel everywhere blood is circulated. From your feet to the top of your head and everything in between. This excess sugar irritates blood vessel linings causing scarring. This scarring acts as a road block and narrows the passage of free flowing blood. The narrowed blood vessel can now be blocked by a blood clot. This reaction also will create high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force exerted by the heart within your vascular system. And, having high cholesterol just aggravates the situation more. These 3 conditions, diabetes, high b/p, and high lipids are common in diabetes and all 3 contribute to blood vessel damage.

The risk of diabetes and stroke can be lowered by adopting  healthy eating habits, avoid smoking, exercising and regular visits to your doctor. If diagnosed with high b/p, diabetes or high cholesterol, treating these conditions early and aggressively will greatly reduce your risk of suffering from a stroke. If you have a family history of these conditions, you are already at risk. Be pro-active and choose a healthy lifestyle.

Good Health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN