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If You Have Diabetes, Know These Signs of a Stroke

People living with diabetes are at higher risk of stroke, so it’s especially important for them to talk to their doctor and manage their risk factors.

Know Diabetes by Heart, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association, offers several tips for people with diabetes to reduce their risk of a stroke:

  • Take control: Managing your diabetes is a key step to staying healthy. Make a plan with your doctor to establish or maintain control of your condition.
  • Take your medicine: Be sure to take all medicine prescribed by your doctor, and if you have concerns about your medications, ask your doctor. Don’t just stop taking them.
  • Take care of yourself: Continue or develop healthy lifestyle habits, and if you smoke, quit.
  • Take stock of your numbers: Keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels, as well as managing your blood glucose and A1C, can make a difference in reducing your risk of a stroke.

Knowledge is power

“Diabetes is a complicated health condition, so it’s important to be proactive and work with your healthcare team to learn all you can about how to manage it,” said Robert Eckel, M.D., immediate past president of Medicine and Science for the American Diabetes Association and past president of the American Heart Association.

For example, Karen Dawson, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in her 40s, was managing the condition well with a combination of medication and a healthy lifestyle, but she lost her health insurance and was unable to afford her medication. With her diabetes and high blood pressure unmanaged, Dawson’s health was more vulnerable, and she suffered a stroke.

Having a stroke puts her at high risk for another one, but with her health insurance back in place, she now takes her medication as prescribed, maintains a healthy diet, and stays fit by swimming in her local pool. And she serves as an ambassador for Know Diabetes by Heart to encourage those living with type 2 diabetes to stay healthy and maintain a positive attitude.

If you or someone you know is living with type 2 diabetes, make sure you know the warning signs of a stroke. The acronym FAST makes it easy to remember and recognize the common symptoms of a stroke. If you experience sudden:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty

If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to call 911.

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