DIABETES can almost double your risk of having a stroke – and the condition is a contributing factor in around one fifth of strokes in Britain.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, which can affect or damage brain cells. A stroke is a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential for people to recover.
This damage caused by a stroke can have different effects, depending on where it happens in the brain. A stroke can affect the way your body works as well as how people think, feel and communicate.
High levels of glucose in the blood – which is caused by diabetes – can damage blood vessels.
The glucose can make the vessels harder and increases the risk of them being blocked, a process called atherosclerosis.
Experts warn that if this happen in a blood vessel in, or leading to the brain, it could increase the risk of stroke.
There are thousands of people in the UK living with diabetes, mainly type 2 diabetes.
However, there are also believed to be 800,000 people living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes in the UK, which could put them at risk of stroke.
The main symptoms of diabetes include feeling thirsty, urinating more frequently and feeling tired.
People with the condition can also experience weight loss and regular episodes of thrush.
Stroke risk and diabetes risks are similar.
People most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes are often overweight or obese, and carry extra weight around the waist. Being overweight affects the body’s ability to respond to the hormone insulin.
People over the age of 40 are also more likely to develop diabetes.
There are two main types of stroke – the ischaemic stroke – where blood supply is stopped as a result of a blood clot, or haemorrhagic – where a weakened blood vessel supplying the brain bursts.
Stroke survivors are often left with long-term problems caused by injury to the brain and some people need a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover.
Figures released by Public Health England and the Stroke Association reveal that a stroke kills over 40,000 people a year and almost two thirds leave hospital with a disability.
With over 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, the new Act FAST films are encouraging everyone – not to ignore the key symptoms and to call 999 immediately if they notice even one of them.
Getting appropriate treatment can reduce the amount of brain damage and ensure a better chance of making a good recovery – which is where the Think Fast campaign comes in.
Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
Speech – is their speech slurred?
Time – to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs of a stroke