A stroke. That’s only something your eighty-something-year-old neighbor might have, right?
Stroke is a leading complication for people with diabetes. In fact, 2 out of 3 people with diabetes die from a stroke or heart attack. Pretty scary stuff.
May is Stroke Awareness Month, so let’s take a moment to test our knowledge on this very serious and potentially deadly diabetes complication. Think of it as your own diabetes final for the semester! (Answers are provided below the questions – no peeking!)
b) High blood pressure
c) Abnormal blood cholesterol levels
d) Dry skin
f) History – or family history – of mini strokes (also known as transient ischemic attacks)
a) Call 911.
b) Call 911.
c) Call 911.
d) All of the above
Ready to see how you did? Here are the answers to this pop quiz:
c) Brain. When the blood supply is interrupted, brain tissue is damaged. The most common cause is a blocked blood vessel.
d) Dry skin. There are a lot of risk factors for stroke – some you can’t help (like family history), but others you can lower by making changes in your lifestyle (see Answer #3 below).
False. You can lower your risk of stroke by:
- Keeping blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers in a healthy range.
- Following a healthy meal plan.
- Start moving with regular physical activity. (Experts recommend at least 150 minutes a week.)
- If you are on medication, take it as prescribed.
- If you smoke, quit.
Typical warning signs of a stroke develop suddenly and can include:
- Weakness or numbness on one side of your body
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
- Trouble talking
- Dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
- Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- Double vision
- Severe headache
Call 911 right away! Getting treatment can help prevent permanent damage to your brain.
You can learn more about strokes and how to prevent them on the American Diabetes Association’s website. Also, don’t forget to check out the article in the May 2011 issue of Diabetes Forecast about stroke.