Stroke & Diabetes

ABS_DiabetesWritten by Tawanda Johnson-Gray

While stroke is the number five cause of death among adults in America, many may not be aware that stroke undeniably is the number one killer of African Americans. The onset of stroke symptoms may occur weeks in advance before the actual stroke occurs. Learning to listen to the messages your body is sending is important in preventing the onset of a debilitating stroke.

The Relationship between Stroke and Diabetes:

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body can’t use it’s glucose to fuel the cells in the body. Glucose is a sugar that the body converts most of the food we eat into energy for body cells. The pancreas is the organ that makes a hormone called insulin. When our body can’t use its own insulin or doesn’t create enough insulin, it causes a build-up of glucose in the blood, which affects the blood vessels. When the blood vessels become compromised, this can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke, a stroke caused by bleeding, caused by blood vessels that have burst in the brain.

There are two forms of Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes, which usually is detected in middle-aged adults, however, the incidence is increasing among children and adolescents. Type 2 Diabetes is a form of diabetes in which the body produces insulin, but not enough to allow for proper absorption of the glucose in the body cells. Type 1 Diabetes is common among children and adolescents. Type 1 Diabetes requires the afflicted to take daily injections of insulin, as the body makes very little or no insulin at all.

People with diabetes are at risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. To prevent strokes induced by diabetes, medical check-ups and intense monitoring of the blood sugar levels is mandatory. Developing healthy eating habits, implementing an exercise plan and controlling weight gain are crucial in staying in the safe zone. If you find that diabetes has occurred in your family medical history, inform your healthcare provider. For more information, please visit diabetes.org and www. powertoendstroke.org

Tawanda Johnson-Gray is president of Chicago Urban Heart & Stroke, Incorporated.

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